Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Doing Something Familiar, Just For Your Own Sanity: I Made Chicken Noodle Soup

As a young man I was a picky eater. I liked high fat foods. Hot dogs and sweet cereals, ice cream and chocolate syrup. But my Mom would make chicken noodle soup. She would make home made noodles and boil the chicken carcass down to make a base and then add water and seasonings and chicken. I would smell it simmer all day. The noodles were unspectacular in sight but the texture and flavor is what I liked best. They were thick, you knew you were biting into a noodle. I loved eating that soup. It was a constant no matter where we lived or how long we were going to be there.
It is also something I miss very much being incarcerated. So when I had a chance to make it here, I jumped on it. I work in an area that feeds a particular group of people who purchase meal tickets and since we had left over chicken, I made my Mothers soup. 
I mixed the flour with the egg, recalling her verbal recipe from years ago "They are simple Jeff, one cup flour, one egg and a drop of milk, mix by hand.". I did just that, only a triple batch. Rolling out my dough with everyone watching surprised I would even attempt such a thing. 
Once I got everything together and it tasted pretty close to how I remember it, I started having people try my Mothers soup. It was like having guests over for dinner for the first time in years. We were laughing and joking, snacking on little pieces of fruit and coffee. I wasn't in prison, I was a busy man who was doing something humane. It was like I was sharing a piece of my soul with every customer, each bowl I watched go out the window was another vulnerability. It felt great to care.
I have a friend out there who takes one or two weekends a month and feeds the homeless. He takes simple recipes that he can stretch and creates hot food. His sense of purpose and humanity is what drives him on to do such things. 
I want to encourage you to do things that will invoke your sense of humanity. Make a favorite cookie that your fond of, or a cake or a casserole, then share it. Not the recipe, the product. Don't do it for the kudos, do it for the sake of vulnerability. Do it because it will open your heart to another human being. Its basic and cliché, but please try it. Make enough cookies to pass out at work, just to do it because your aunt did it for you. Share that memory with those around you. I certainly enjoy it.

With Love
Jeff Utnage

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