Archive for the ‘cooking’ Category

I had high hopes of accomplishing great things during the vacation days between Christmas and New Year’s. I’d finally sort through the piles and boxes in my computer and craft room at home and restore the space to peaceful sanity. I’d iron all those shirts and pants that I never wear because they’re too wrinkly. I’d organize the laundry room, sort through the upstairs hall closet, and pack up a bunch of stuff to be donated.

As usual, I set my sights too high. My computer room is still a disaster, I haven’t ironed a thing, and the laundry room is more cluttered now than it was a week ago. I’m discouraged. So is my husband Mark, who also had hopes of finishing some home projects in his rare free time.

And yet…

Our house is warm and secure, Mark and I are both happily employed, and we rest peacefully at night without fear of our home being bombed. (How many people in the world are living in cold and fear at this very moment?)

And, in a deliciously-smelling symbol of our many blessings, an enormous pot of ham bone soup has been simmering on my stove for most of the day.

ham bone soup_RCAn occupational hazard of teaching children about food and farming is that I am a compulsive reader of labels. I’m fascinated by what’s in my food and where it comes from. So it was no surprise that each time I stirred the pot or added the next batch of ingredients, I gazed at the rich mixture and thought about each component. Carrots, onions, celery, parsley, garlic, tomatoes, corn, chicken broth… each have their farm-to-table story.

The two main ingredients made this cooking endeavor especially significant to me, however. The first was the ham bone that inspired the project; the meat-laden bone from what was probably the best Christmas ham we’ve ever had. I’ve thanked that pig, the farmer who raised it, and the meat packing workers who processed it in my prayers on Christmas and every day since as we’ve munched on the delectable slices.

The other ingredient that made me smile inside was the beans. I used a pound of mixed dry beans and another half-pound of dry kidney beans, both bags given to me by my great-uncle Lloyd. He was proud of those beans. They were raised in Weld County, Colorado, on farms whose crops he insured. Uncle Lloyd passed away several years ago, but I still have a few more bags of those beans. Apparently, if you take good care of them, dry beans—like love—will last forever.

We didn’t finish most of the projects we had hoped to over these past several days. But as my colorful, nutritious, delicious soup proves, we are still incredibly blessed.

Now, who’d like some soup? There’s still enough left for about 20 good-sized bowls full.

This post appeared as the “Stray Kernels” column in the January 2015 issue of DeKalb County Farm Bureau’s Connections magazine.

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