I’ve never met a bowl of soup I didn’t like. In fact, I’d go so far to say that soup, homemade cookies, good coffee, and good books constitute a large portion of my personal religion. I’d go even further and say that there are few ailments a bowl of soup can’t cure. Busyness, illness, loneliness: homemade soup is the panacea.
Orlis and I have created a weekly ritual for ourselves this fall — to deliver a quart of homemade soup once a week to someone who could use it. Now, so far, I’m not talking about deep charity here — we aren’t lugging our quarts of soup into the streets and offering them to the homeless..though it’s only October, who knows? We are simply delivering to friends. Friends who could use a dinner delivery for one reason or another — a sick neighbor, a buried law school student, a beloved friend who has a bit too much in her proverbial soup bowl this fall — that kind of thing.
Having grown up in a smaller town, I retain the quaint memories of neighborliness that imbued my childhood with a sense of community and ease. I don’t mean idyllic Norman Rockefeller scenes — but rather borrowing an egg here, a cup of sugar there, and the general sense that a little help is just around the corner if you need it. At this time, last year, when Orlis was just a few weeks old, we received 27, count them, 27!, meal deliveries at our tucked-away Brooklyn neighborhood, and each and every one of them completely saved our lives, not to mention trumped any other kind of baby gift we received. A little community-mindedness goes such a long way.
What has struck me about our soup delivery ritual these last few weeks is how darn easy it is. Soup is magical. We plan for a big pot of something on Monday nights and guess what we do? We double it. That’s it. A few extra carrots, one more onion, and another cup of beans, and a few hours later we not only have dinner for ourselves for the night (and a few lunches to follow) but one or two extra quarts to give away. We pack it up and make our delivery on Tuesday, in some cases getting the containers from last week’s delivery back again with an effusive thank-you note. And that’s it. We’ve saved someone’s evening and all it took was a few extra cups of water. (Okay, sometimes we make cookies too.)
Mathematically, it hardly works out — a little effort on our part (Orlis’ curiosity about tupperware being central to the delivery fun) and so much gratitude in return. But isn’t that just the way of giving? So much more in it for the giver, right? So, it’s small town NYC for the coming weeks, and aren’t we lucky. Soup Tuesday, thank you.