03 November 2010

Mama... What does heaven taste like?

George MacDonald, the Scottish theologian and author, once described heaven as "the regions where there is only life, and therefore all that is not music is silence"

C.S. Lewis used this quote in The Screwtape Letters to launch a discussion about Noise.

This is something constantly apparent in my life: That noise is from the devil. Music and silence are from heaven, but noise is from the devil.

Bickering, incoherent television - think Inspector Gadget, the crashing down of yet another lego tower, the jumping from one bed to another (and they're bunk beds), the one-footed roller skating up and down the hall (although that results in much fewer falls than 2 footed roller skating, i imagine), the constant opening and closing of doors, and on and on and on.

There is a lot of music, too. One child reading to another, a marker moving quietly across a page, a baby laughing, an onion sizzling in hot olive oil, wine hitting the bottom of the glass, husband saying my name.

But the noise. Whew the noise.

I have no idea - and neither do you - what heaven sounds like. But we can be confident there is no noise - only music and silence, as George MacDonald put it.

Well, George could hear heaven.

And I can taste it.

As with many, many things in my life, nostalgia is a big part of it.

When I was young, I suffered from many sore throats. And many times, my mother would run to Swensen's and get me a pint of cheese soup. And on Saturdays in 6th and 7th grade - when every tiny bit of independence was like the freedom of your freshman year in college - my best girlfriends and I would get dropped off in the Swensen's parking lot - go to Eckerd's and buy cheap fingernail polish, to Video Library to pick out a movie, and then to Swensen's for lunch.

And every time. Without fail. I got a tuna melt and cheese soup. Half a sandwich and a cup of soup.

It remains what I would pick as my forever meal if I could do so.

Well, when I started cooking, I would every now and again try cheese soup recipes.

And I could never even approximate the flavor and texture of Swensen's masterpiece.

I tried all sorts of methods, all sorts of ingredients. It wasn't a quest - I really didn't imagine that I would ever succeed - it was more of recurring lark.

And then one day I was nursing a three week old baby, perusing the internet with reckless abandon, and realized that my friend Jessica had a blog! With recipes! And one of the titles of the recipes was "Swensen's Cheese Soup."

Of course I didn't believe it.

And then I looked a the list of ingredients, and I started to believe it.

Because only super processed, non-food items could really make something taste as good - and as nostalgia inducing - as Swensen's cheese soup.

I've been making it about once every six weeks since then. I'd do it more, but then we'd be fat(ter). Paul asks for it regularly, and I always pair it with yummy paninis and a green salad or fresh veggie (last night it was sauteed green beans).

Thank you to Jessica White!

I've tinkered with a bit, but just barely... =)

In 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, saute:

5-8 green onions, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
0-2 stalks of celery chopped.

After the veggies are good and soft, add
6 cups of chicken broth
3 cans of cream of chicken soup. Stir until the soup is blended with the broth.

Stir in 16 ounces of Velveeta.

Yes, that's right. Cream of Chicken soup and Velveeta are the primary ingredients in this soup.
Don't think about it.
Don't talk about it.
Just drink in the joy.

Heat until the Velveeta has completely melted and been incorporated.
Do not. I repeat. Do not. Allow it to boil. It will curdle, separate, and your daughter will make fun of you.

Add freshly ground pepper to taste.

Do not salt.

And if you want to throw some fresh green onions or chives on the top, I won't stop you. But, even if it will make it taste better, just know that it betrays the processedness of it.

Ann Lowrey

1 comment:

  1. Yes! The husband doesn't know it yet, but his life will change next week because this is going on the menu. Thanks!