"Yes. Feel them."
I cried when I learned you were a boy.
"Mama I've never seen you cry."
Dash pats the tears into the skin under my eyes as if he's applying a very special cream.
"I had a hard day, Dash. Dance with me."
I cried when I didn't want you to come out of me.
"Mama, are you crying because you missed me today?"
"Oh Dashi, I did miss you today. But that's not why I'm crying. Please dance with me."
I cried when I first held you.
"Well, mama, I had a hard day too."
"Tell me. What happened?"
"Well, I was barefoot."
"And I stepped on this pokey thing."
I cried when I weaned you.
He shakes his head, remembering the horror of it all.
"Dash. My day was harder than yours."
I cried when you did a front flip out of your crib.
"Wait, mama, there's more. I was playing with Eric and you know that girl Rose?"
"Well, she told me that if I touched a certain digging toy that I would die."
I cried when I dropped you off at preschool for the first time.
"Okay. Your day was hard."
"Yes," he starts to cry. "And I don't want tomorrow to be so hard."
I cried when that little shit at school called you stupid.
I grab him by the wrists and he scampers up my body, legs monkey-wrapping around my waist. W
I cried when I realized my main job was to keep you alive.
"Dash, I've been told my whole life that soup can make you feel better."
We scour the kitchen and gather the scrappy, the limp, the sprouting, the freezer-burned, and the long-forgotten odds and ends.
And we make some motherfucking soup.
POTATO, TURNIP, WHITE BEAN, AND KALE SOUP
This soup is very easy to make. You can soak beans overnight or just used any canned/jarred white beans. Find every vegetable scrap in your fridge from old onions slices to wilted bok choy to rubbery carrots to a stump of brown fennel. All should go in. All will taste good. This is the template.
4 slices bacon
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, peeled and diced
6 carrots, peeled and diced
4 stalks celery, diced
4 anchovy fillets
4 cloves garlic
3/4 cup white wine or Lillet Blanc
12 yukon gold or German butterball potatoes, peeled, halved, and sliced
8 white turnips, peeled, halved, and sliced
8-10 cups liquid (any combination of chicken stock, vegetable stock or water)
2 cups white beans (navy, cannellini, great northern, or butter)
6 sausages (raw or pre-cooked)
1 head kale (or any hearty green like chard, spinach, bok choy, or collards)
sherry wine vinegar
cooked bacon, chopped or crumbled
In your soup pot, fry up the bacon until crisp. Remove bacon and place on paper towel. Pour out all but 1 tablespoon of bacon fat. Add olive oil. Over medium heat, add onions, carrots, and celery. Add big pinch of salt. Cook until tender (about 10 minutes).
While the vegetables are cooking, make a puree out of anchovies and garlic (with mortar and pestle or a chef knife on a cutting board). Add puree to vegetables. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add white wine. Cook down for a minute. Add potatoes and turnips. Add enough stock and/or water so that the vegetables are covered. Throw in a parmesan rind. Bring to the boil. Turn down to a simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes. Add white beans and cook for another 20 minutes with the lid off. You want the potatoes, turnips, and beans to start to fall apart and thicken the soup.
Fry up the sausage in a separate pan until almost cooked through. Slice and add to the soup.
Stack all the kale leaves. Slice into 1"pieces. Add to soup. Cover with lid for two minutes until kale is wilted.
Stir. Taste. Add salt, pepper, lemon juice, and/or sherry wine vinegar.
Serve topped with chopped parsley, parmesan, bacon, olive oil, and crunchy salt.
It's always tastier and thicker the next day. Freezes beautifully.