We’re officially into summer, but here in Oregon the rain hasn’t stopped. It’s been dreary – just a little chilly. So, last night I decided to make soup for my family to warm us up from the inside out.
I had a beautiful head of red cabbage that I sautéed with some garlic and onions and then simmered in chicken broth. I added cooked quinoa and I seasoned the soup with cinnamon, fennel, and bay leaves. I added a little fresh lemon zest, a dash of sea salt and pepper, and served it with some fresh diced cilantro over the top. It was hearty, chalk full of nutrients, and the flavor was absolutely divine!
The one thing I didn’t bank on, however, was that my beautiful cabbage would go crazy in the pot. As it simmered, my good intentioned meal went from a pot of deliciousness to a big lavender-colored stew. The more lavender it got, the more my stomach sank. Yes, it smelled amazing – and it tasted amazing… but let’s get serious: no matter how spectacular my intentions and the flavors were, it was purple soup.
Even my man, who loves everything I cook, opened the pot and gave me a look like, “You serious?”
“It tastes amazing,” I said encouragingly. “I know it doesn’t look so great – but wait til you try it.”
I ladled it into bowls for everyone and, as the kids approached the table and saw servings of purple, I got one, then two, then three, “What is this?”
Again, I let out a little laugh (and a prayer they’d eat it since I had no backup plan) as I said, “You’ll love it – I promise!”
Long story short, my prayer was answered and everyone finished their dinner. Surprisingly, there was no complaining, no sounds of disgust – they just ate. Their eyes were half closed with every bite – but they ate nonetheless. (My man even went back for seconds.) Then, as they left the dinner table satisfied, and warm, and full up on nutrients, I even heard, “Gosh, mom, that wasn’t as bad as I thought it’d be.”
But, can I tell you something?
I was absolutely shocked they ate that soup. S.H.O.C.K.E.D. It was the ugliest bowl of soup I’ve ever consumed in my 40 years of life – and, hands down, it was the ugliest meal I’ve ever put in front of my family in all the years I’ve cooked for them. Maybe it’s just me – or us… but purple is not meant for soup. Purple is meant for hydrangeas, or skittles, or a snazzy handbag that gives a pop of color to a boring outfit. But soup? No thanks.
So, what gives then? How is it that my family got past the ugly flag that soup was waving and managed to discover it really was tasty?
I am convinced my family got past the ‘ugly’ because they know my ‘cooking character’. They enjoy my cooking night after night. They see the groceries I bring home; they know the flavors I play with; they’ve grown to trust how I put ingredients together; and, they are confident I cook, not to punish them, but to satisfy and nourish them with all things good. They’ve seen my ‘cooking character’ in the kitchen so regularly that, in spite of this total bomb, they knew they could trust I would never in a million years serve something that tasted disgusting… and that meant they simply ignored the ugly flag and dug right in.
With all that said, I turned off the kitchen lights last night with this quote floating through my mind: