Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Jarvis & Peanut Soup

Jarvis is a new kitchen manager, he has everything neatly segregated: salad perishables in the coolers, hardy veggies in the other -less used - therefore cooler kitchen.  He was able to pull out everything we needed with no time wasted.  Some of the plastic bags were hand-labeled 'soup lady' (that's me) -  a soup planning at work...

There is no real need for soup making anymore, because people of Nickelsville  enjoy cooking themselves + HAVE a kitchen;  it's more like a social nowadays - I get to visit with friends and find out what's new;  and if we spend time making food it's just a good old fashioned way of spending time in a friendly manner.  True, we are trying to make fairly healthy food, as lots of stuff donated is mostly cans and  food boxes - not always healthy...

But being able to exchange hugs with Richard (he and I know each other 2.5 years now), getting to know Jarvis, catching up with Jeremy and Andrea, seeing adorable 4 y.o. LeAnn and finding out what's new in life of her family (they are waiting for housing news next week; mom is still planning on next post office exam - I found that out from dad, who was on the guard duty) or simply bumping into ever-happy, always-cooking Mike or his wife Tracy who looks you in the eye with the most concerned smile, or seeing people walking the dogs out - well, soup is just a nice diversion from it all.

Many people keep commenting that they appreciate soups being vegetarian. It wasn't always like this:  when Nickelsville was on the church parking lot I often went out of my way to add meat or sausage, for animal protein and fat would make staying outside through the cold nights easier.  Without much planning soups became meatless as soon as Nickelsville moved to the fire station; it crossed my mind a few times that perhaps meat could be added, but won't bother - apparently lots of people crave vegetarian meals. Also noticed that the soups end up less spicy/hot nowadays - another change from the days when spicy/hot was desired  to raise the body heat.

Jarvis and I cooked West African Peanut soup - seems a favorite of Nickelsville, so it kinda became a Monday Soup, while Thursday is turning out  into the 'review of the week soup' - whatever we find needing processing into soup.  Jarvis was curious what makes it West African, and pointed out that West Africa grows peanuts and sweet potatoes - which we used;   he also wondered if it could be enhanced with meat or fish - probably so: chicken from the start or shrimp on the end.

Carolyn showed up in the kitchen about the time Jarvis needed a break and the change of hands was amazingly seamless:  one minute  Jarvis chops the veg and we chat about an interesting book he read (I still need to get the tittle), I turn away for a moment to stir the soup only to find Carolyn where Jarvis left,  we now talk about her years studying literature at NYU - all without stopping the process of soup making. Looks like Nickelsville community figured out  a way of communicating and functioning way more efficient than many other groups in of our society...

We made a salad for a good measure as well - all the ingredients were on the house, so shame to waste it.  Just as we were worrying how to dress it , Jeremy swings by:  'Oh, but we DO have several salad dressings, here': ' he goes to the cupboard and produces 'Newman's Own' balsamic as well as Thai dressing - of course: he was a kitchen/food manager a when Nickelsville moved in the fire station and organized the cupboards then - he knows where he put the stuff.

While Carolyn and I are trying the soup for final seasoning somebody stops by the sink and complains:  'who made all that mess here, without washing?'...  Sorry, it was me, and  I'll clean it up shortly, I said, but Jarvis and Mike showed up instantly: don't worry, we will take care of this.  What a kitchen to be in!:)

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