‘Tis the Season for Conquering Soup

‘Tis the Season for Conquering Soup
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Long a food literature devotee, I continually marvel at the seeming effortlessness with which authors, home chefs, and Michelin triple stars approach the kitchen. Their sense of matter-of-fact wonder at gathering simple or impossible-to-find (except in a French market) ingredients simultaneously fills me with awe and consternation.

How did these regular people learn this kitchen prowess? Were they blessed or baptized with a secret sauce as babes in arms?

I’ve wanted to conquer the creation of homemade soup for nearly 20 years, partly because it has eluded me my entire adult life, and partly due to my reliance on Panera as my go-to soup spot. With food lit authors banging in my head since the start of the pandemic, and as we entered autumn and the leaves began to quiver, I knew it was the dawn of my soup reckoning day.

But that day hastened toward me with greater speed as I realized the leftovers from my daughter’s photography class were still sitting right near the stove.

Yes, a butternut squash was part of the project – and there it was, tilting toward me every morning as I entered the kitchen. It was almost as if the squash were sending me an invitation: “I’m here. Perhaps you’d like to get on that soup idea.”

One dark morning, because I could no longer take the taunts of the squash at 5 a.m., I pulled out a paring knife and set to work.

First lesson: A paring knife is no match for a squash. Those chefs with their stars and the food bloggers with their cascades of sumptuous photographs who write eloquently about the solidity of a squash’s outer skin as it gives way to sunrise golden, buttery innards have the right tools for the job. They do not approach a vegetable that can stand on its own on top of my stove with the most petite of kitchen knives. These food gurus have spent their time focusing on finding the tool that best fits any job in the kitchen.

My kitchen endeavors have been more plentiful since the pandemic set in; as such, my focus on hunting, gathering, and preparing food is more concentrated. I am focused on creating my own “Little House on the Prairie” winter stock pile (organic chicken in boxes from Trader Joe’s) to fuel my soup trials and successes.

Our advocacy efforts in the bleeding disorders community are not unlike the soup quest — concentration and focus are what have brought us to this point in history, and they are what will see us through and beyond this pandemic. Legislation continues, rule-making continues, and we must continue to be part of these conversations — even while we have the weighty elephant of COVID-19 sitting on us. Our work to share our collective and individual stories continues, with our elected officials, medical providers, researchers, and neighbors.

On this journey through what feels like an abyss, we may well find that we meet new allies in new ways — doors may open and discoveries may occur. We can still stand together as one voice, as we are still together, even though we are apart. In bleeding disorders, we are often apart; the rareness of a hemophilia or von Willebrand diagnosis naturally lends itself to distance because our numbers are not substantial.

What is substantial today is the soup you might have tonight, whether from a can, a box, or an app order to Panera. Whichever way you choose, bring the right tool, and when you’re dragging out that crockpot from under the counter, consider that it might be heavy right now, but soon you’ll be feet up with socks, slippers, and a steamy cuppa.

Soup is storytelling. Soup is advocacy.

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Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.

Ann is an English professor and freelance writer with strong ties to the bleeding disorders community. She believes that advocacy is an essential skill for all connected to rare diseases; and that together, we have the power to impact and lead change by sharing our individual and collective stories, whether to meet personal needs with our medical providers or through involvement in policy work and legislation.
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Ann is an English professor and freelance writer with strong ties to the bleeding disorders community. She believes that advocacy is an essential skill for all connected to rare diseases; and that together, we have the power to impact and lead change by sharing our individual and collective stories, whether to meet personal needs with our medical providers or through involvement in policy work and legislation.
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