The weather forecasters are doing nothing but apologise.
More rain. More weather.
I’m making a lot of soup. My soups aren't inventive: a combination of carrots, leeks, onions, lentils and something else that’s green. Depends what's in the veg compartment in the fridge. Sometimes I add a little bit of chopped bacon. Herbs if the garden is growing any.
My soup has lumps. It never sees a liquidiser. (The liquidiser, poor thing, is somewhere in the dark recesses under the stairs.)
My very first soup contained butter, onions, carrots, potatoes, lentils and a stock cube. I was a little nervous about it. I was staying in a cottage in Wales with my boyfriend. From lessons at school, I’d learned things I cooked went wrong. So I cautiously followed a recipe in a book and, to my amazement, an amazingly good soup emerged. I didn’t know lentils did that. I never looked back.
I know I make good stock, because I keep simmering bones. I like the word ‘bone’. It sounds (to me) like the thing it is. I use a bone folder to sharpen the creases in cards. Matt uses one to flatten the new pamphlets (Chapter Eight went out last week and it needed a lot of flattening). Bones pop up in so much of what we say. They can be rude, ancient, bare, idle. Bones are fundamental.
She won’t make old bones. Let's make no bones about it. Not a mean bone in her body. Work my fingers to the bone. Chilled to the marrow. Brrrrr.
Boil me some bones, mother, boil me some bones.
Making soup is good for thinking. It’s the chopping of the different bits into different shapes and sizes. It takes close attention but doesn’t use much of your brain. And then when it’s cooking, the smell cheers the house. And ready so quickly! Three cheers for soup!
The combination of soup and grim weather takes me back to Frances Cornford’s poem, one of my favourites of all time. Hell’s bells! I have to stop chopping to go and look it up. Why haven't I got this one by heart? Here it is.
The winds are out in the abysm of night;
The blown trees stoop,
But man invented fire and candle-light,
And man invented soup.
And now I can cheat. Because this week Anthony Wilson chose to write about another of my favourite soup poems, by Michael Laskey, from his book The Tightrope Wedding. Leek and potato for Michael.
All I need do is give you the link.