Maybe it's because I was recently delving into my high school mix tapes or maybe it's because I have a knack of remembering my food "firsts," but when I sat down to my two-day-old minestrone, I remembered my first minestrone and I remembered Suzanne.
We're still very close friends (and she's not dead or anything), so it's not like I needed any reason to remember Suzanne -- especially since she figures heavily in my mix tape memories -- but minestrone and Suzanne are inextricably linked for me.
I don't remember the year, but I remember the month. It was Valentine's Day and a bunch of us were protesting not being asked to a Valentine's Dance by certain boys by having a huge girls gathering. We were all at Suzanne's house where her parents humored us by giving us the dining room and letting us eat off the fancy china. Suzanne, the cook of our group, made a huge, steaming pot of minestrone on that frigid Minnesotan night. I'm sure we had bread and salad, too, but I don't remember that. I just remember the minestrone.
Given that minestrone is chock-a-block with vegetables, I was already not a fan. Without tasting it, I was against it. But I didn't tell Suzanne that. Suzanne had made me a special birthday pizza topped only with onions and cheese because she knew how much I loved onions. I wasn't going to tell her I was sitting out her protest minestrone because I hated zucchini. And carrots. And cooked tomatoes...and pretty much everything else in it.
Anyway, everyone else was pro-minestrone, and I didn't want to broadcast my pickiness, because in high school? You don't go against the grain. I sat down and quietly unfolded my napkin. Then I quietly took a small taste from my spoon. After that, I quietly finished my portion and quietly ladled out more. Quite soon, I was ordering minestrone at lunch whenever Bruegger's Bagels had it.