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Author's Note:
This is a NON-Fiction piece

It’s a good day for soup-cold and overcast; the kind of day that you want to stay in and cuddle under a quilt seeking shelter from the imminent arrival of winter. Soup is a warm comfort food that always tantalizes my baby’s taste buds. This I do to show my love, care and total devotion for her.

I love to cook for her- preparing the ingredients, seasoning and creating. She is not feeling very well today thus I want to be extra attentive. In my small galley kitchen, my element, I stir my love into the pot. And as I do this I think to myself how preparing a meal is relative to nurturing a relationship.

First there is the trip to the grocery store. One chooses the necessary ingredients as one might choose a lover. Three large and sweet Vidalia onions should be enough. Sweet like you would like a lover to be. Mouth is watering already just thinking about what this soup will taste like. And the best part will be watching her savor its flavor when you serve it to her.

Pondering the spices in my cupboard at home and considering if I need anything more. These actions are comparable to when you first see someone, and their eyes meet yours and there is a spark that passes between two souls. Alerting each one and heightening their senses- hmmmm this person I see I would like to get to know.

Then I select the cans of broth. Broth is the liquid which binds the soup together. Just as the allurement, fervor, diversities and similarities will bind a couple together. That which keeps each partner committed to the other, through thick or thin in sickness or in health, till eternity and beyond.

Aromatic is the bread and I give it a soft squeeze to assure freshness. I then search out the dairy aisle and choose a block of mozzarella cheese. Mind you all ingredients are health conscious…as I want us both to stay happy and healthy for many years to come. These ingredients are toppings…like the icing on a cake…comparable to those sweet little actions that your lover might do for you without being asked. The extras in life…fill your coffee cup, a hug and a kiss while passing you in the hallway, or a wink and a whispered ‘I love you’ while shopping together.

Home again and back into the kitchen. All ingredients are laid out upon the counter. Knife at the ready and laying on the chopping board. Spices…bay leafs, black pepper and thyme are lined up too. Large dollops of butter melt at the bottom of my new cast iron Dutch oven, a gift for me from her. The pot makes its debut in this jubilant occasion of making this special meal.

Adept hands with long fingers peel the onions one by one. Then the chop, chop, chopping and slicing begins. Aroma of butter simmers in the pot and the onions are added in to cook until tender. I take the time and gently stir every so often so that all slices get their equal time and all are cooked to perfection. While I stand there I daydream of pleasant memories of us…when we first started to date. How passionate we were, and still are.

The fragrance of the sweet onions and butter wafts throughout our home. I wander down the hall to check on you. I find you comfortable and snuggling under the quilt. You tell me that the aroma is making your mouth water. I say well you will have a bit of wait.. Would you like something to hold you over? As in everything it will take some time until the soup is truly finished. Sometimes we have to wait for what we want, and the waiting makes it worth the while.

I return to the kitchen and the onions are all soft and pale as they should be. Now it is time to add the spices. No measurements, I know this recipe by heart and I am able to gauge just what amounts are needed. First a few bay leafs, Mediterranean in origin and derived from the laurel plant...a symbol of honor and commitment. Several grinds of black coarse pepper to add the fire, zest, passion and excitement any relationship needs. And lastly a small palm full of thyme as in time, that which all lovers need to learn what their other wants and needs without being told…instinct and comfortable with one another.

The broth is then added to the pot. And the cover is put on. The soup is born and must now age and simmer for awhile. I now take the time to clean up the counters and do the dishes. I like a clean and tidy kitchen. I lay out the crocks and spoons. The bread is waiting in its paper bag to be sliced and placed on the soup when it is done. The cheese waits in the fridge for that final topping as well. As in any relationship time is needed to bond. I check the flame and turn it down low for a slow simmer under the pot like the lights might be turned down before lovemaking.

By this time the scent is very aromatic instilling hearth like memories and urges to join you for an hours worth of cuddling before the soup is ready to serve. Simply being here to please you makes me happy. Getting you fresh juice preparing your favorite foods, anything you need. Together we snuggle, talk quietly, and share giggles and kisses.

I hear you say ‘is it ready yet?’ I look at the clock and it should be near time. Hating to get up from my warm comfy spot of spooning with you, but I do. The scent of the soup is making me hungry as well. So I get up and amble to the kitchen. I lift the cover and the French onion soup is truly exquisite and slowly simmering. Mmmmm, I think I outdid myself on this batch.

I slice the French bread. I take the cheese from the fridge and slice that as well. I turn the burner off under the soup and then ladle my creation, rich and wholesome, into the crocks. Carefully I lay the bread in each crock and then top it with cheese. . The crocks are then placed under the broiler for a minute or two to brown and melt the cheese. This is the icing on the cake so to speak….all flavors melded…as personalities meld and one compliments the other.

The crocks are removed piping hot from the broiler. Cheese lightly browned and melted. I place each on a plate and then one at a time I carry them out to the dining room where you wait for me. Placing yours in front of you, I see you smile as you bend over the steaming soup. The look on your face speaks a thousand words and makes my heart soar.

I with my own hands made this delightful concoction, this French onion soup, one of your favorites for you. And your smile made the task so effortless. You look up at me with those aqua green eyes of yours and look into my soul. And I know I would bend over, go anywhere, and do anything just to make you happy always and forever. Something as simple as the cuisine of this soup is so very symbolic of us, you and me. Side by side we sit, taste and share a meal, as side by side we shall walk, journey, taste and share our life.

CJ Herlihy


The following comments are for "Life's Soup"
by CJHerlihy

I love reading this piece, makes me remember my favorite by Laura Esquivel, 'Like Water for Chocolate'. Since your 'Domino Effect' I was hoping to read another autobiographical piece from you. But this one has a brighter quality in its poignancy, while 'Domino Effect' was haunting and moving. ;)

( Posted by: PETERPAULINO [Member] On: October 21, 2004 )

Nice Carol
For be nurtured this way by love. For be able to nurture with your love this way.

and alone am I....

I really like this piece, the warmth of nurturing and the warmth of the quilt, the warmth of the love. It is a nice read, thank you for sharing.


( Posted by: dareva [Member] On: October 21, 2004 )

Life's Soup- Soup in Life....
Firstly i give my heart felt thank you to all of you for your kind comments.
Secondly, as i portrayed my love and dedication to Chris,my other half...i should also say that she has and always done the same for me. And ours is a love, tried and true.
We both have been through so much together, as you know from my writings. However our journey has only made us that much more strongly bonded. She knows my needs even before i do and she is right there for me always. And whatever life brings to us, we will together revel, steer through, and slay our dragons.

( Posted by: cjherlihy [Member] On: October 21, 2004 )

onion soup, too
As I forgot to say in the November, chili WITH cheese melted on top!

You are a very giving person, as the story tells me. In a way it IS fiction, because you took reality and made it into a reproduceable, multipliable moments of love.



( Posted by: Teflon [Member] On: November 7, 2004 )

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