It only takes seconds, really, to recognise that I’m depressed. That kind of depression that has you standing at the shed door, looking at paint and knowing there isn’t an ass’s roar of a chance that you’ll get it together to do that touch up paint job you promised yourself you’d do; have it all done by the time Geoff gets home and shove in his face that a woman’s work is never done and a woman just gets it done. Not an ass’s roar, if that’s the expression. Although, the emotion is far from such passion. I recognise that I’m not going to be painting anything today, I’m not going to make it to Karen’s exhibition, I’m not going to do diddly, because that is what happens when the darkness descends.
This is not about the darkness. This is about the light. The Light. The glimmer that always emerges when I am about to give up.
I’m standing with paint in my hands, wondering how I could be so determined to do something and now, for no apparent reason, I’m destined to have a day of absolute fecklessness. That glimmer of love that shines even when I’m not bothered to look for it, whispered in my ear.
Like an automaton, I turn back to the kitchen. I will make soup because for some reason, soup making is something I can do at this time. At these times. In that moment, that hand grasping mine from out of nowhere, in that moment, all I have to think about is chopping vegetables.
“Okay,” my lost soul sighs, “I can do that.”
I’m aware, as I walk back down the garden, that this act is my lifeline. I think about writing a recipe book. Then I think it might be better to write about why I make soup and then, as an added bonus to the reader, who already has enough books about soup making, I could add the recipes. I remind myself that I make it up as I go along and the Wise Woman in me is already smiling, because she sees that I am having creative thoughts: a book; making up recipes. I am further on now than just hanging onto the hand that reached from the sky to save me. I am beginning to dream about sitting by the camp fire with a hot drink and a blanket, the comfort of knowing my almost perilous drop to my death is all behind me.
I reach the house and decide I will make the most delicious creamy sweetcorn soup, with potatoes perhaps; something I can try to get Ash to eat. My hand picks out a sweet potato too, and some onions. I chop and peel. There’s no challenge to that at least. I notice this particular variety of sweet potato has the brightest red orange inside. I mindfully peel and admire it before adding it to the onion in the pot. I borrow two potatoes from Kevin and add salt and pepper and something suggests a little paprika to me, before adding frozen corn and a vegetable stock cube. There is a mild satisfaction in me that I am using up food that might have been left to rot. I am aware that I am creating. I let myself off the hook for missing Karen’s exhibition. It’s the last day and I also missed the launch night, but she will understand I hope. There is nothing I can do anyway. I am a million miles away from driving to Bray. The soup is one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten in my life. I eat it slowly and carefully and begin to take stock of my blessings, a sure way out of the pit of doom if ever there was one. Ever wondered what it is to eat mindfully? Make this soup and spend some time with yourself. You’ll see.
Sweet Mindful Soup
2 white onions, chopped
1 large or 2 small X Sweet Potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 medium sized potatoes, (peeled if not new) and chopped
a pinch of paprika
maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bag of frozen sweetcorn or can of sweetcorn
1 vegetable stock cube
1 glug of cream or soya cream
Sweat the chopped onions in some oil (mild olive oil or coconut oil) until soft
Add the chopped sweet potato and turn around in the oil
Add the regular potatoes and turn around in the oil
Boil a kettle of water
Add a pinch or two of paprika, salt and pepper
Empty the bag of frozen sweetcorn (or drain the can) into a colander and rinse under a cold tap for a few seconds. Add to the mix.
Add the boiling water and a vegetable stock cube and stir well, bringing the soup mix to the boil.
Turn the heat down and simmer over a low-medium heat until the potatoes are cooked.
Let the soup cool slightly before blitzing with either a hand held blender or let it cool almost completely and blitz in a nutri bullet or liquidiser. Return soup to the pot.
Check the seasoning and add some cream or for a lower calorie option, soya cream.
You will eat this soup mindfully because it’s just. too. gorgeous.
Emer by Karen Hickey
I closed my drama school and stopped teaching & directing in 2019 after 29 years building confidence in people of all ages through creative endeavour. But a true Drama Queen never forgets so here I am, back teaching again after all this time :)