Some days, the only solution is to walk into the kitchen and pull out an armload of ingredients.
Chicken stock and kale, an onion from the pantry. Ground sausage needing to be browned and a swirl of olive oil. A handful of carrots and the grater from the shelf below. I sneak a crunchy bite into Natalie’s mouth.
I’m forty minutes away from soothing all meltdowns, of regaining margin, so I move my feet around our kitchen to do what I know best: make an overflowing pot of soup.
The older kids make their way towards the heart of our home, this always happens. They are needy and unsure of what will make them feel better, and they ask me a million different questions. The baby opens a cupboard and pulls out a set of mixing bowls, quickly leaving them at my feet to crawl after an older sibling.
I turn the dial and the gas flame glows blue, warming the pot. I indistinctly step over bowls to grab a forgotten ingredient from the fridge: a carton of heavy cream. The process, it’s rhythmic.
Each week I meal plan, and no matter how detailed my list is, regardless of the new recipes I try, I always default to making a pot of soup. Week after week, I make soup.
The ingredients are always stocked. I don’t need “more”. On extra happy soup making days, I add my very favorite ingredient: tortellini stuffed with ricotta and spinach.
Marigold remembers her mixing bowls are on the floor, so back into the kitchen she crawls. I pick her up to kiss her head and smell her hair.
Before long, it’s time to grab bowls from the cupboard. I ask Max to pull spoons from the drawer; Natalie helps by placing our napkins on the floor of each chair. I reach for the salt and stir; I ladle soup and fill bowls. I go back to my rhythm.
When in doubt, I default to making soup.
And when I feel like Maggie is running on empty, I make soul soup.
New ideas can be encouraging and more things can be fun, but in all honesty, rarely do I need to fill my mind with “new” or “more”. When I strip to the basics, I usually know what to do. (It’s the encouragement that I’m lacking.) Less stuff, more margin.
Soup basics: broth, seasoning, vegetables, meat.
Soul basics: faith, family, gratefulness, margin.
It’s good to unsubscribe from the noise. Join me in asking, Is this how I want to be spending my time?
Because too often, I need to re-evaluate. My mind naturally complicates the process, a by-product of too much noise and not enough margin.
So I go back to the basics: sit down and enjoy the soup.