Seasonal Sundays (Week 42) Soups to Sustain the Spirit

Heaven knows we can all use a little comfort food right now so I've gathered some simple homemade soups to gird the spirit for what's happening, what's ahead.

Seasonal Sundays, a weekly newsletter ♥, a seasonal collection of recipes and life ideas in and out of the kitchen.

Welcome to Seasonal Sundays ...

As ever, thank you for welcoming me into your InBox and RSS feed reader. It's your kitchens, your lives, I conjure while writing ...

Today I'm honored to share here the words of a Jewish-American lawyer we know and like and respect. He wrote what follows for fellow businesspeople in his hometown. I've edited for clarity, brevity and to protect the identity of his family but the words are his own, shared with permission. (The bold emphases are my own.) It's one story, one perspective, among millions. This is his life, now.

Wednesday, October 10, 2023

I'm well aware of our group's rule against discussing politics. To me this is not about politics, it is about inhumanity.

It has been an awful week since Hamas attacked Israel on the last of the fall Jewish holidays called "Simchat Torah" which means joy of the Torah, one of the most joyous days of the Jewish year. I'm trying to "put one foot in front of the other" but it hasn't been easy. I'm not a very emotional person. Many times each day this week, I found myself angry or wanting to burst out in tears. So far, I've controlled it.

My family in Israel lives mainly in the middle part of the country or the North.

I have friends in the South who were severely impacted by what Hamas did. I will leave it at that.

My cousin's 37-year old son has been called up.

Everyone in the country knows someone who has been killed.

The number of funerals in a small country like Israel has been staggering.

I went to high school with a guy, we clerked for the same federal judge and stay in touch. His son, a 30-year old reservist, was seriously wounded trying to save innocent lives in Kibbutz Be'eri last weekend.

What happened at Kibbutz Be'eri has now been widely reported. (See Times of Israel: Testimonies from Be’eri massacre expose deep trauma predating Israel’s creation and CNN: More than 100 bodies found in Israeli kibbutz Be’eri after Hamas attack.)

Ten percent of the Kibbutz population was slaughtered (murder is the wrong word) by Hamas. Children and toddlers were beheaded and their bodies dismembered. My friend's son was shot trying to save innocent civilians whose crime was to exist.

Our oldest son served in the IDF (Israeli Defense Force). His unit was part of the "Nachal" brigade during the height of the Syrian Civil War. My wife did not want to know what he was doing. I knew.

During his service, he was a navigator who guided his battalion into Syria under cover of darkness to ferry innocent Syrian civilians to Israel to get basic medical care because the Syrian health care system had broken down. His unit would then navigate them back, again under cover of darkness, to avoid reprisals.

The same Nachal brigade manned one of the three bases overrun by Hamas last Saturday. It has been widely reported that the Hamas terrorists murdered every member of my son's successor brigade at the base. What has not been reported is what Hamed then did with the bodies and their uniforms. My wife would not want to know so I won't write it down but it is on the lines of what they did at Be'eri, only worse, and at the nearby music festival where they murdered more than 260 innocents that we know of so far.

As of now, our son, who is in medical school, has not been called up. He and his Israeli wife have a baby daughter.

Other reservists, including the husband of my cousin's daughter who are both here in the U.S. have been called up. After three days of trying, he made it out on Tuesday.

There is lots to suggest that Israel is under-reporting the dead, in part, because no one knows how many human hostages Hamas took into Gaza.

I challenge you or anyone else to name one time when the Israeli army has ever taken a hostage. Keep in mind that several years ago, the Israeli government traded 1000 convicted terrorists, including some with blood on their hands, for one Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit. Even one life is precious.

I was in Israel in 2014 when a "lone soldier" was killed in the last significant conflagration in Gaza. In Judaism, you try to bury the dead within a day, so they weren't expecting anyone at the funeral. Over 10,000 people attended, almost none of them knew the deceased soldier who was from the U.S.

This time is different. Life in Israel has come to a complete halt. Over 300,000 reservists were called up in less than 48 hours. That's more than 3% of the country's total population including Jews, Christians and Moslems.

Some are already trying to create a moral equivalency between the loss of life in Gaza where Hamas did what they just did and uses women and children as human shields and hides armaments and command centers in schools, hospitals and mosques.

The Israeli air force has traditionally dropped leaflets and made phone calls to warn of impending raids.

We also don't know what is going to happen in the North where Hezbollah reportedly has over 150,000 rockets compared to the estimate of Hamas' reported arsenal of 20,000 rockets prior to last weekend.

My 96-year old dad died last February. Every day both morning and night, I have been attending services to say Kaddish, a memorial prayer, for him. It's just something I have to do.

As I write this, I don't know what is going to happen but I think that my attitude toward Kaddish for my dad, what Israel did for Gilad Shalit, the 2014 service for the lone soldier and our son's service to assist innocent Syrian non-combatants should give you some feel for how much Israel treasures life and abhors death.

Hamas' actions stand in stark contrast: in Be'eri, the music festival, the hostages, the Nachal soldiers.

Made Me Think ...

  • Dan Rather: "We can hate Hamas and recognize Israel’s need to protect its people while still feeling for the Palestinian people who face their own unimaginable terror as an invasion looms. It is possible to ache for those on both sides of the divide." (Anger and Sadness, his latest Substack column)

  • Politico: "What’s happening in Israel now is a disturbing example of what can happen when elected officials use partisan and personal motivations to warp national security. For years, Republicans in Congress have attempted to sabotage what they call the “Deep State.” This includes placing holds on political nominees and castigating diplomats, officers and analysts employed in the government as captives to “Big Woke.” They might see it as political theater, necessary to boosting profiles and fundraising. But as this week shows, there can be a price." (Will the U.S. Be the Next Israel?)

In Praise Of ...

  • ... seeking and finding light amid the darkness, join me in carrying a flashlight?
  • ... the streetside fall flower displays in downtown Chicago, filled with pumpkins and gourds and mums and the last of the summer flowers
  • ... joining the urban after-work strollers and dog walkers seeking fresh air and a little exercise before settling in for dinner and a rainy night in
  • ... filling your backyard with pumpkins big and small in anticipation of today's Pumpkin Hunt & Painting Party, they look so so cool!

May I Suggest ... a Link?

Let me just presume that if you're reading this, well, you're both a cook and a recipe collector. Don't the two kinda go together? And that means you tuck aside interesting recipes all over the place and then, dang, where is that chicken recipe that looked so good anyway? Here's an idea. Start a folder on your phone, call it "Kitchen Parade" or "Alanna" or whatever makes best sense to you. Then save the recipes you're most interested in right there in one place. Easy Peasy.

SEASONAL INSPIRATION: Seven Soups to Sustain the Spirit

My Chicken Noodle Soup ♥, meaty and noodle-y with a special technique to plump up just a few noodles. Low Carb. High Protein.

Scandinavian Split-Pea Soup ♥, the classic Scandinavian recipe made with dried split peas on Thursdays across Sweden and Finland. Hearty comfort food, great for a crowd or a houseful, either meaty or vegan. Weight Watchers friendly!

Homemade Lentil Soup ♥, a classic homemade lentil soup, just inexpensive wholesome lentils, spices and vegetables plus a special touch, a splash of sherry. Vegetarian or easily vegan. Weight Watchers Friendly.

White Chicken Chili ♥, spicy-but-not-too-spicy, just chicken, spices, chilies and white beans.

Quick Broccoli (or Cauliflower) Soup ♥, fast, delicious soup made with five ingredients.

Hamburger Soup ♥, a hearty meat and vegetable soup, easy comfort food.

How to Make Homemade Vegetable Soup, a master recipe ♥ Never the same twice! Perfect for CSA members, farmers market shoppers and all vegetable lovers!

A collection of soup recipes ♥, lunch-simple to supper-substantial.

What's New?!

Wondering about a recipe from the last while? Check Recent Recipes from Kitchen Parade and Recent Vegetable Recipes from A Veggie Venture.

Frozen Steaks, another Quick Supper ♥ How to cook steaks straight from the freezer, no microwave, no thawing required. Meat is perfectly, evenly cooked.
  • THE RECIPE Frozen Steaks How to cook perfect steaks every time, starting with frozen meat straight from the freezer! (PIN This)

Looking Ahead ...

  • October 31st - Halloween
  • November 1st & 2nd - Days of the Dead (All Saints)
  • November 4th - 5th - "Fall Backward" Time Change (an extra hour! nice!)
  • November 11th - Veteran's Day
  • November 23rd (early! nice!) - American Thanksgiving
  • December 1st - Alanna's Unofficial First day of Winter
  • December 21st - Winter Solstice (Official First Day of Winter)

Looking Back ...

A Quick Peek Into a Real-Life Kitchen

Just so you know, everything's not all pretty pictures around here, in the background is a pile of dirty dishes. And just like many (all?) of us, come five o'clock, I too draw a blank about what to make for supper, despite so many recipes I so dearly love. Here's a quick peek from the last week, not including the Pumpkin Smoothies, Hamburger Soup and Cauliflower Risotto on repeat this time of year.

Shakshuka (Eggs Nested in Summer Vegetables) ♥, a traditional North African and Israeli dish, just peppers and tomatoes slowly simmered, then 'nested' to cook whole eggs.
  • THIS WEEK So when you buy a big container of fresh salsa for a Twenty-Minute Taco Bar, you'd better have a plan to use up the rest of it. Fresh salsa works great in shakshuka and a definite shortcut as well. I skipped that last tablespoon of tomato paste and wished I hadn't, it just deepens the flavors. I also tried dotting the top with cottage cheese for extra protein, that was a hit.
  • THE RECIPE Shakshuka (Eggs Nested in Summer Vegetables) A traditional North African and Israeli dish.

Roasted Green Beans with Rosemary & Walnuts ♥ A Veggie Venture. A Fall Classic. Just Five Ingredients. Simple Enough for Everyday, Sumptuous Enough for Occasions. Low Carb. Vegan. Naturally Gluten Free.
  • THIS WEEK Usually I'm not big on those bags of cleaned / trimmed fresh vegetables: too often they're expensive and inferior quality. So when a shopper at Sam's Club loaded his cart with two-pound bags of organic French green beans, I took note and grabbed one too. My reaction? First, the word French in the product name suggest skinny haricot verts but these beans are just regular ol' green beans. But really good quality! Very fresh, saving a few minutes of cleaning / topping / tailing time. Second, I can easily see getting a bag of these every Sam's trip because oh! we love these roasted green beans. The first night, I followed the recipe, just perfect. A couple of nights later, I added a pound of sliced mushrooms and some pre-cooked ground beef from the freezer, drizzled it all with soy sauce. It was a great impromptu sheetpan supper.
  • THE RECIPE Roasted Green Beans with Rosemary & Walnuts Quickly roasted at high heat.

Chicken Cider Stew, another Quick Supper ♥, a colorful fall stew with sweet potatoes, carrots. Rave reviews. Weight Watchers friendly!
  • THIS WEEK This just might be my favorite fall supper, it makes the kitchen smell so good. This week, I was short on chicken so sliced up some mushrooms to compensate, worked great. Definitely cook some rice or grits or something to soak up the liquid. So good!
  • THE RECIPE Chicken Cider Stew Another Quick Supper, one skillet perfect for fall. (PIN This)

Just Updated!

Oven-Baked Whole-Grain Pilaf ♥, a concept recipe combining different rices, grains, lentils and other healthy starches, baked in the oven with spices.

Weeknight-Easy Yeast Rolls ♥, yeast rolls mixed like muffins. No kneading. No rise time.

Fun Pretzel Roll Hot Dogs ♥ Fun party food, make-ahead hot dogs stuffed into soft pretzel rolls.

Slow-Cooked or Slow Cooker Pot Roast ♥, four easy tricks for tender, moist and flavorful pot roast. Low Carb. Weight Watchers friendly.

Sugar Cookie Bars ♥ All the colorful deliciousness, none of the cookie cutter and decorating fuss.

Something to Read

THE BOOK The Watchmakers: A Powerful WW2 Story of Brotherhood, Survival, and Hope Amid the Holocaust

THE BROTHER ON THE LEFT? That's my dear friend Margie's father, a Holocaust survivor. This is a first-person account, as told by another brother to his son. It's highly readable, if difficult, reading. It's also important reading, given the anti-democratic, authoritarian and christian-nationalism espoused by MAGA Republicans.

NO TIME TO READ? I DIDN'T THINK I DID EITHER How I Read 4X More This Year Than Last What I gave up, how I read so much, what I read.

Don't Be a Stranger ...

I'd love to hear from you. Comment, send me a quick e-mail (my current address is in the FAQs), dot-dash in Morse code, build a fire for smoke signals, launch a message in a bottle, send a Christmas letter, get the dog to yip, toss me a note wrapped in a rubberband, write a message in the sky, scratch a note in the sand, listen to a seashell, tuck a question into a plastic Easter egg, whatever.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail, you'll find my current address in the FAQs. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. When you make my recipes, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below or better still, on the specific recipe's page.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.