Bonding Over a Meal by Toi Thomas
I guess you could say that I’m old school. Not that I was ever improvised, but I can remember times when things were a bit rough at home financially. No matter how rough things got, my family always made time to gather around the dining room or nook table to have a meal, whether it be breakfast, lunch, dinner, or an afternoon snack.
In this day and age, it seems that people are too busy to all sit down together, at one time, and share a meal unless they happen to be heading out to a restaurant to enjoy the atmosphere and company of strangers. While going out to eat can be fun and has many merits, it’s no replacement for gathering around with close friends and family to share a home cooked meal made from scratch.
Now I want to be clear when I say that my mother can cook, she just never liked to very much and my dad did. Most of how I learned to cook came from watching my dad and from being adventurous in the kitchen on Saturday mornings when everyone else was asleep. I can say that one of my favorite things in the world to eat is a vegetable stew that my mom makes, but I can’t share that recipe with you; it’s for family only.
What I’ll be sharing today is a recipe I made up myself, inspired by my mother’s stew, my odd interest in eating green things, and the theme of bonding that abounds in my novel, Eternal Curse: Giovanni’s Angel. When I came up with this recipe, I needed to create a scene where three people could feel awkward around one another, but still manage to mingle and converse because of the appetizing meal they happened to sharing. By the end of the meal, these three people may still feel a bit awkward, but at least they’ve come to an understanding and are more than willing to share another meal together.
To me, sharing a meal with someone is special. I personally don’t like to eat around people who I feel are going to be judgmental of me, and since people tend to talk around the table, I wouldn’t want to eat with someone whom I felt I needed to guard my words. When Abraham, Giovanni, and Mira share the following meal together, they are candid and patient with one another and close bonds quickly begin to form.
Since creating this recipe and publishing my book, this meal has become a favorite of my husband and he delights in making fun of how much of a mess I make when preparing it. Another thing my husband likes to tease me about, is how much I enjoy shopping for the ingredients, especially since I tend to detest all other forms of shopping. This hearty soup is the messiest thing I make, doesn’t look fancy or neat, but fills you up and tastes great.
So without further ado, I give you: Abraham’s Three Green-Pea Soup
1 bag frozen peas
½ bag frozen soy beans
½ bag frozen snow peas
1 leak stalk
2 green onion stalks
3 tbsp olive oil
½ cup chopped parsley
¼ cup chopped basil
*2 cups (at least) low-sodium chicken broth
*Vegetable broth can be substituted
½ cup low-fat milk
ground black pepper & other spices (optional)
- Steam (or boil) ½ your soybeans and snow peas and ¼ your peas and set aside.
- In a frying pan, sauté 1 chopped leak (after chopped soak in water to clean and then pat dry) and 1 chopped green onion stalk in olive oil. Then add ¼ cup parsley, all the basil, and another ¼ of thawed peas and stir for 1 to 2 minutes.
- In a pot, bring chicken broth, steamed legumes, milk, and pepper/spices to a boil and then simmer.
- Add contents of sauté to the simmering pot, stir to combine, and then turn off heat to cool.
- Blend or puree contents of pot and then return to simmering heat.
- Add in remaining thawed legumes along with the remaining chopped green onion and parsley. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes stirring occasionally. Add more pepper/spices (and or salt) for your liking.
- Add in 2 chopped grilled/pan fried chicken breast, at step 6 to appease your die-hard meat eaters.
This is one hearty flavorful soup, served best alongside a salad or sandwich, but perfectly good alone. This, Abraham’s Pear Tart recipe, and other story extras can be found in 40 Days and Night of Eternal Curse (a companion guide) and enjoyed while having a bowl is this savory green treat.
About the author/cook Toi Thomas
A self-proclaimed techie and foodie, Toi Thomas was born in Texas, but considers Virginia to be home. She enjoys reading, cooking, baking, painting, collecting vinyl records, and spending time with her family. Currently working as a special education teacher’s assistant while blogging and writing fulltime, Toi finds comfort and peace of mind in chocolate, green tea, and naps. For some reason, Toi admits has escaped her, she married a frat boy who has continued to be her best friend and love of her life. She and her husband are now embarking on the adventure that is book promotion with the release of her first novel, Eternal Curse: Giovanni’s Angel. You can learn more about Toi Thomas at eToiThomas.com, home of The ToiBox of Words blog.
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You will find the other four recipes from terrific guest cooks in the directory.