Cooking for One: Soup and Fall, a Reprise
DISH: Asian Broth with Shredded Veggies and Noodles
TYPE: Nourishing, warming, etc.
MAIN INGREDIENTS: Veggies
I left the Northern Hemisphere a couple days before Labor Day this year. The weather had cooled a bit since the peak of summer, but it was still definitely warm out—salad and sandwich weather, if you will, not yet time for soup. I spent ten days in Mozambique visiting my dear friend Essie, in the Southern Hemisphere where the seasons are, of course, reversed, and they were coming out of winter. Though I’d brought a dorky sunhat and an even dorkier button-up shirt with built-in sunscreen, in fact the daytime heat gave way to these crisp evenings and mornings, and I had to wear a fleece and wool socks to sleep. The weather was also cool enough to be hospitable to a bit of soup eating, and I won’t easily forget the amazingly flavorful fish soup that Essie’s boyfriend, Chris, served us at Essie’s birthday party as an appetizer. He also warmed some up for me later that night when we got home from the bars and I was busy making pancakes for Essie, who’d momentarily rejected the soup for something sweeter.
By the time I returned to Brooklyn, after more than 24 hours of straight travel, I was craving soup again. It wasn’t just that the city I had returned home to was suddenly autumnal, the days short and the breeze chilly, but also that I needed to recover from the carb-heavy diet of my trip. Much to the embarrassment of my laid-back, acclimated hosts, I refused to eat any vegetables that hadn’t been thoroughly cooked, and I limited myself to meals of fresh local fish and French fries (I mean, I was pretty happy with this choice, admittedly). For the remainder of my menu, what I ate the most of were fluffy white Portuguese rolls spread thickly with margarine and guava jelly.
So on that first afternoon back in my apartment, while I fought to stay awake to a normal New York bedtime hour, I put a bunch of pots on my stove and made soup. Soup making was partly a response to the new season and partly an effort to detox from my trip. The second reason is why I added nourishing, purifying ingredients, like chopped garlic, ginger, and scallions. But the second reason is also what led me to make a slight—mainly aesthetic—gaffe:
Cara, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOK
Asian Broth with Shredded Veggies and Noodles
1 onion, thinly sliced
4 scallions, white and green parts, sliced
1/2 yellow pepper, julienned
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
2-3 tablespoons soy sauce
1-2 teaspoons sesame oil