In light of the shelter-in-place order, many of us have resorted to cooking at home, revisiting old recipes and getting creative with our pantries. Instead of our usual Flavors Worth Finding column with recommendations from restaurants, KQED staffers are sharing the meals they’ve been making at home to find some comfort and grounding during uncertain times.
When I was growing up in Minnesota, soup was one thing that truly signaled fall was here. My mom would make all kinds of one-pot wonders. She'd alternate between Napa cabbage stews, minestrone packed with frozen veggies and kidney beans, the occasional laksa with a heavy and complex broth and chicken noodle with the bowtie-shaped farfalle pasta.
If it was a restaurant night, it was all about lemongrass-forward tom yum soup from the now-closed King and I Thai in Minneapolis or phở gà from Ho Bien in St. Paul. We'd climb into oversize sweaters, drive through the neighborhoods, comment on the color of the maple trees and order heaping amounts of soup to share.
As I got older and learned more techniques, I'd make heartier, heavier soups like butternut squash and pumpkin, or satisfy my craving with canned clam chowder.
These days, my mind and spirit are still in August, but the construct of time has pushed far past that into (almost) November. My brain does not compute. In an attempt to catch up or force myself not to dissociate, I ventured back to the comfort of soup. Where I live in Walnut Creek, the temperatures have just started to dip into sweater weather—it's been more of a swelter with highs in the 80s and 90s Fahrenheit before last week. So I've been experimenting with various clear soups to try to reset my idea of time.