I’m experimenting with soup. I woke up this morning and was flipping through digital cable. I came across the Magic Bullet infomercial and watched for a bit. This is, of course, after I watched the RonCo rotisserrie infomercial. I was inspired. I own a Magic Bullet and I use it semi-regularly but always for the same things. I got inspired to make soup. Went to the grocery store on the way home and got dried chanterelles, sliced portobellos, cream, chicken stock, cooking wine, etc. Garlic salt. Ummmm, what else. Roasted garlic. Blend it all together, put it in the microwave.
Well, it’s not quite Panera Bread quality. I should have reduced it a little bit. Next time. The good thing about the Magic Bullet is that it’s a personal serving’s amount. Yeh, it needs to simmer for the flavors to concentrate and infuse the liquid. It’s too thin and flavor isn’t consistent. I mean, it’s not quite good enough for home cooking but it might pass for soup at an upscale restaurant, if you know what I mean. Where you assume that anything that comes out of the kitchen is good because it was made by professionals but you don’t really like it.
Thanksgiving day. Sick as a dog. I woke up with a headache, stayed in bed until the afternoon and got up in time to drive to Columbia and get to dinner. I was thinking that I needed to get something in my stomach and then everything would be fine. But by the time I got to dinner I was in bad shape. I’m doing much better now but I can’t figure out what the heck is wrong with me. I did have a long day yesterday, including a long day of … socializing beyond my capacity.
It’s amazing and disturbing to me how some people can drink for ten hours and still remain upright AND get up the next day and function, more or less. I’m not a drinker and I always drive to where I’m going. Aside from being my preferred state of consciousness, sobriety also provides me with a convenient, spontaneous escape hatch when required. So the third of a glass of sangria, the almost half a glass of something-heiffer, and half of a Woodchuck Draft Cider — all over the course of ten hours — couldn’t have resulted in a hangover. Maybe the kabob buffet for lunch did me in. Maybe I’m allergic to bar hopping.
I suppose the cause doesn’t matter. So I’ll move on here.
I arrived at dinner, the headache having intensified. I said hello to everyone, got a big plate full of food and went into the relatively quiet basement to eat. A nice, finished, thoroughly livable basement. My big sister, the boys and a few other people were down there watching “The Wild”.
I ate. I ate until every bite made me a little more nauseous. WTH. As usual, I pushed on longer than I should have. I got a pillow off of a chair and layed on the floor alongside the couch, watching the movie and waiting for my body to decide what it was going to do.
This soup is much better at the bottom of the bowl. I just had a brain flash. Next time I’ll use the FoodSaver to see if I can catalyze some infusion. I think that’ll work. I mean, obviously, I could just let it slow cook — that would be the right way to do it. But I digress.
This is how my family is. Two of my nephews were sitting on the couch. Actually, Kyle was sick himself that day but seemed to be feeling better. He tells me I can have his blanket, a small blue fleece. Then he leans over the edge of the couch and says, “Luke, I am your father. No. I am your grandfather. I’m your great grandfather.”
“You’re my father AND my grandfather AND my great grandfather, huh?”
“Yes, Luke. Even though I’m only seven. You were inside a woman and when you were born, you came out the age you are now for some reason. No, wait. You were in an egg.”
“I was hatched?”
Word gets around that I’m sick. After a while a bingo game starts in the area of the basement behind the couch . My family is loud. Sounded like fun, though. They had prizes and everything. My mother is a nurse and my grandmother used to be a nurse. So they came down to check on me to see if I had a fever or if I needed to have my blood pressure checked.
My big sister comes down to the basement with Mylanta, feeds me a few spoonfuls like I’m one of her kids, and gives me an Alleve. My little sister comes downstairs to hang out and tells me that I can stay at her place that night and/or she’ll take care of Leika if I want her to. My mother tells me to stay at her place. (My grandmother and mother live two houses apart. Leika stays at my grandmother’s during the work week.)
My cousin, whose house it is, comes to tell me that she’s got a comfortable air mattress and I can stay there for the night. She brings me a proper blanket and a pillow. One of my aunts, the one who spoils Leika during the work week, has someone tell me that I don’t have to pick Leika up if I want to head straight home.
Not an option, of course.
We watched “Shark Tales” after “The Wild”. Well, I watched it, laying on the floor like a lump next to the couch.
Kyle comes downstairs and says, “I have something for you” and he hands me the bar of soap — fancy soap — he won playing bingo. My big sister tells me that he had given it to her and then later asked if he could give it to someone else. (Good thing, too, since my recent attempts to merge two paper thin slivers of soap together failed miserably.) Mark, the oldest of my nephews, sits on the couch playing his gameboy but with his feet resting on my semi-lifeless form. Jordan, the youngest, stands in front of the TV and dances whenever any music comes on. Either that or all the kids were playing, rough housing, laughing while the grown ups play Scrabble or eat dessert.
My family. It’s hard for me to imagine what it’s like to have a small family. It takes a village, as they say.
And hello to the Harrises on the west coast whom I spent many a Thanksgiving and many a holiday with during my self-imposed exile. If I could be in two places at once I’d have Thanksgiving with them, too. Someone break out the Bartinelli’s.
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By Neil Gaiman
Release date: By 26 September, 2006