In addition to baking, I’ve been making soup. I’ve made more soup this year than in the past, which is funny since I’m the only one who eats it. I have been making chicken stock and freezing it to use in different recipes instead of having to buy canned. I’ve mentioned before that my mom is not a baker and doesn’t make much from scratch, but one thing she always made from scratch was chicken soup. I love my mom’s chicken soup. It’s my comfort food. Two years ago, I finally asked my mom for the recipe. The first time I made it, it was awful. I mean it was almost inedible. My mom asked me about fat on it. Now, I remember my mom getting excited about the fat on her soup and I always thought it was weird. Even that first time she asked me, I thought it was odd. No, there's no fat on it. My mom told me it needed fat for the flavor. I still thought she was insane. I KNEW I could make soup like hers and not have the fat. It’s been so ingrained in us that fat is bad. So, I tried again. This time a tiny layer of fat formed. It was so small, it was hard to scrape off without just mixing it back in. This time, the soup was slightly better. Maybe there was something to what my mom was saying. The more I made the soup, the better I got at it and the more fat there was. There’s a trick to this, but I’m not giving up my secrets. My mom was definitely right, the flavor comes from the fat. My soup has gotten much more flavorful since I started making it. It’s actually pretty darn good. It’s still not my mom’s, but it never will be. I’m pretty sure she adds extra love to it to make it special for me.
Last week, a friend asked for soup recipes. I gave her my amazing tortellini soup recipe. After I gave it to her, she told me the soup was for a friend of hers that is dying. Her friend wants soup, so she is making sure her friend gets soup. I told her that if she could give me a week to get the ingredients, I would happily make my chicken soup for her. Monday I got started. I roasted the chicken that morning and had soup by the evening. Tuesday morning when I pulled it out of the fridge, there it was, the most glorious fat layer that my soup has ever gotten. I was way too excited about this fat. I shared with my kids and made them look at it. They were not impressed. As I scraped that fat layer off, I felt a huge sense of pride. This was by far my best batch of soup I’ve made, and to make it even better, it’s going to (hopefully) brighten someone’s day.
It was in that fat layer that I realized I’m so lucky because I still find joy in the small things. That fat layer inspired me to bake 5 loaves of bread and 5 dozen cookies yesterday. My kitchen looked like a tornado went through and I was exhausted by bedtime, but it was worth it. I dropped cookies off to friends, froze two loaves of zucchini bread, gave a neighbor lemon bread, got a loaf of Italian Herb and Cheese ready to go with the soup, and sliced a loaf of Italian Herb and Cheese for us for dinner. Husband came home and looked around and commented on how every surface in the kitchen had bread on it. It did and it felt great.
It’s the little things, like the fat layer, that help me make it through the day. It’s why I’ve been baking so much. It’s the little things I can control and, hopefully, brighten someone’s day.