Fourteen carat vegetable soup
It all began with a ghost of Christmas past. It was probably the Christmas of 2000. Eartha was in a whirlwind of Christmas baking and was mixing her specialty of cherry nutbread, which is a loaf of scrumptious goodness and everybody's favorite. S...
It all began with a ghost of Christmas past. It was probably the Christmas of 2000. Eartha was in a whirlwind of Christmas baking and was mixing her specialty of cherry nutbread, which is a loaf of scrumptious goodness and everybody’s favorite. She was doing about four projects at the same time and answering the phone each time it rang. But it all got done and the delights were ready for our Christmas dinner a few days later.
On Christmas Day, it fell to our eight-year-old granddaughter, Tessa, to slice the nutbread and place it out for everybody to devour. But the slicing wasn’t going very well. Finally, frustrated Tessa said, “Grandma, I just can’t cut this.” Grandma came over to help and encountered serious resistance at mid-loaf. Once inside, it turned out, a long wooden cooking spoon had been baked into the treat. No problem: the liberated nutbread was as delicious as ever and we still use the wooden spoon.
From that time forward until October of this year, Eartha has not made a single mistake in the kitchen - a remarkable record of perfection while doing multiple projects at the same time and answering the phone every time it rang.
Then in mid-October, she suddenly discovered the two old rings she had worn on her right hand were missing. Not her wedding ring from her left hand, but two really old rings left over from a trade-in box from her dad’s jewelry store in Parshall, North Dakota that closed in the late 60s. Where were these rings - the sink or the garbage?
About that time, Eartha made another of her specialties, vegetable soup with chunks of beef, carrots, potatoes, celery, cabbage, tomatoes, you know - the works. She must have made a gallon. It was wonderful. We feasted on it but had enough for two more meals. We had more the second day. Then we had to go away for a wedding so we froze the balance.
Finally, probably two weeks from the original meal, the soup was thawed for a final round. As I was getting to the bottom of my bowl, I heard a tinkling sound in the shallows. Behold - I fished out one of those rings. It was a beat up gold ring, probably the better of the two. As it turned out, we still couldn’t finish the soup, but there wasn’t enough to save, so sadly, the rest was to go down the drain. Being cautious and still having one ring missing, I decided to dispose of the remaining soup one teaspoon at a time. And, there it was, that last ring. The lost was found. The rings must have slipped off when Eartha was washing, peeling and slicing the veggies. Those rings were just the ingredient for what we now call our Fourteen Carat Vegetable Soup.
The moral of the story is this: enjoy home cooking - there’s nothing more tastier or nutritious anywhere else. But chew each bite thoroughly, sip, rather than gulp your soup, and eat with caution, because every 14 years or so, even the very best cook you know, when the action is most frantic, and the phone is ringing, may make a little mistake and bury a treasure where you least expect to find one.