Friday, September 21, 2012

Taking stock and making stock

My favorite recipe for soup is this:  take a bunch of stuff you already have, and throw it in the pot.  Instead of calling the stuff "leftovers" or "scraps", you bless it and savor it.

Yesterday was soup.  A whole collection of this-and-that.  It would have been easy to say, "too much to do" or even to moan and whinge about the burden of the activities.  But I found myself instead being (no, really) grateful for the variety of it all.

The day began with an early-morning round of grading, followed by a trip to the boys' wacky dentist.  I was glad to get the grading done; I was glad my boys' teeth are okay despite their new braces.  And I got to show the dentist some photos from our dinner -- we'd put the pirate bling he gave us to good use on Wednesday.  We traded a few pirate jokes.  General merriment.

Once I dropped the boys off at school, I realized I had a lot of work to do a small treasure of time.  And I could use that treasure of time to do two things I wanted to do at once:  I could can up some of the turkey stock at the same time that I could sit quietly at home (alone except for my scurvy dog) and catch up on email correspondence.  No interruptions.  Behold:  canning and computers, all at the same table.
Just around the corner, in the kitchen, I had the stock pot and the pressure canner burbling soft love songs (or, at least, soup songs) to me.   
 And I did a bunch of email archeology while occasionally keeping tabs on the pressure dial.
In his Year of Living Biblically (a humorous-yet-reverent book), A.J. Jacobs describes the point at which he practiced giving thanks for all things:  for the elevator that arrived quickly; for stopping at his floor without crashing to the ground; for finding his keys without fumbling.

And today, after I canned 6 quarts of stock while entering calculus grades, I gave thanks for my job and for the bounty of food.    I said a quick thank-you to You-Know-Who that there was so much stock that I couldn't finish it all in the morning, but would have to come back to it in the evening.  And later in the day, I was grateful for a speaker who gave an engaging and provocative talk.  And then I was glad for my students who worked hard during class.  And then I was thankful for my sons' coaches, who met with me to discuss the boys' progress.  And for the exuberance of the boys themselves, once I got home.  (I worked hard at being grateful for their loud, loud drum practice, but I didn't quite manage that).

I got a chance to be grateful for a pile of clean clothes.  For a phone call from my husband.  For a stinky son who said, "Mom, I'm going to go take a shower".  And for even more vegetables and stock that needed some tending -- and got it -- before our trip out of town this weekend.

And after all of that, I got to give thanks for the hot, delicious soup that we got to share, all of us, at dinner time.  And that we'll get to share again in the deep, deep winter.  Yum.


  1. I love the idea of a pirate dinner and I bet my kids would too. Thanks for sharing!