There is an interesting experience I find as I travel around and talk with folks about making food: there are a lot of folks (men and women) who don’t know how to do it. Their mothers (or a parent in their house) cooked at home, but somehow that skill didn’t get passed down to their children. And when I say don’t know how to cook, I’m meaning don’t know how to make store bought pasta or how to cut an onion or how to dress a salad. Literally the very basic skills that you would need to put a meal together in a home are absent. The surprise comes from this being a skill that someone in most households used to have. It’s also a skill helpful to daily living should someone in the family have some knowledge and interest in putting healthy meals on the table.
I can relate to a certain extent, I grew up not wanting to cook either. It was the woman’s thing to do in the
house and I was darned if I was going to pay one iota of attention to something that women were expected to do. Perhaps it’s just the frugal part of me, but eating out every meal wasn’t in the budget, so I learned how to do for myself. If you would have told me twenty years ago that I would be a food columnist, cookbook author and chef, I would have run in the opposite direction… fast. The kitchen didn’t interest me in the least. Now food is a passion and a love for me, but passion or not, the point is that nurturing our bodies is one of the most sacred but everyday things we do for ourselves and the golden arches isn’t the place to get it. It’s cheaper and healthier in many ways when we cook for ourselves AND it doesn’t have to take hours or be perfect. Simple is often better.
Black Bean and Pumpkin Soup with Crab
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup red pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon ginger
1 1/2 tablespoon cumin
3 cups pumpkin, peeled and cut into 1/2” chunks
3 tablespoons tomato paste
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup dried black beans or 2, 16 oz. cans black beans
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper
8 oz. fresh crabmeat
Heat the oil in a medium sized stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, pepper, garlic, ginger and cumin. When translucent, add the pumpkin and tomato paste and cook until the bottom starts to brown a little. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the crabmeat and bring to a boil. Simmer covered for at least 1 1/2 hour or until the beans are tender. Serve with crabmeat as a garnish in the center of the bowl or stir it into the pot right before serving.
Glad to be home and cooking for four!
© 2008 Baggywrinkle Publishing