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With fretting comes wisdom

January 15, 2013

Hello, all. It’s been a while. It’s been months, in fact. There are many reasons (aren’t there always?), but. I think the biggest has been a crisis of faith about this blog.

Going back to the beginning: I started it out with all these intentions and plans. Write about important issues! Bring attention to politics! Save the world through blogging!

It sounds a little naïve now, to my ear and probably yours, but damn, did I care. And with the five billion cooking blogs out there, who needs five billion and one? Guiltily, though, over the months that came, what I found myself writing about was my experiences with food. The flavors, the remembrances, the process of coming home and chopping methodically until all my other thoughts drop away.

I felt so conflicted about it, and nothing sucks the motivation out of someone like a loss of joy. So I just stopped writing. I had to write for my job eventually, though, and over the summer I developed a love for fiction, but I still felt this crushing guilt about this space. “Am I a bad activist?” I wondered, “a traitor to the cause?”

With time (and fretting) comes wisdom, however, and as I’ve turned my thoughts over and over again these past few months, I’ve come to realize:

Food isn’t fickle. It’s delightful, yes, but it’s also deadly serious. It literally creates the life force in us. It’s nourishment. It links us through history and reminds us of who we are. Writing about it, I’m learning, isn’t a guilty pleasure. It is essential, and it is writing at its very best, pulling together the ultimate human experience into something far-reaching and at the same time, deeply personal.

Who cares if no one else needs a billionth cooking blog? I need it, and I think that’s enough. So hello, again. I’d like to fill this space with some more stories, and some more recipes. Here’s a start.

IMG_1287

Spiced Pumpkin Soup with (Turkey) Bacon
Streamlined from this Nigel Slater recipe.

a small pumpkin (about 2 pounds), or 30 ounces of canned pumpkin
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 teapoons ground coriander
1.5 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon chipotle or chili powder (or more if you like things spicier)
32 oz chicken or vegetable broth
1/3 cup coconut milk
salt
12 pieces turkey bacon

If using whole pumpkin, halve it and remove the seeds and stringy bits. Place it in a pan with sides, fill with an inch of water, and roast it at 400 degrees for 30 or so minutes, until a fork goes into the flesh easily. Check periodically to replenish the water if needed. Wait until it’s cool, then remove the outer skin.

Melt the coconut oil and cook the onion and garlic in it until they’re soft and translucent.

Add the coriander, cumin, and chili powder, and cook for a minute or two. Add the pumpkin (either the stuff you roasted, or from the can), and stir well. Cook for a minute or two.

Add the stock. Simmer for twenty minutes. Cool slightly, until you feel like it won’t melt your food processor. Process it in the food processor until it’s smooth. Return it to the pan, and add the coconut milk. Season with salt to taste (I used about two teaspoons).

Return the soup to a near-boil. While you’re doing this, fry the bacon. Serve the soup with pieces of bacon crumbled on top. Nom.

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