Grandma Amelia’s Soup

Toni Stone
401 Buck Hollow Rd.
Fairfax, VT 05454

Grandma Amelia’s Soup                                                            October 25, 1999

i can remember wretching and crying because they made me eat Grandma’s soup on Sunday, when we went to dinner there.
“oh what a horror. oh no please not that,” i would whisper in my Mother’s ear so Grandma, who was deaf would not hear me.
i didn’t want to make a scene because my Father would grab me and take me outside.
none of the non-adults at the dinner wanted the escarole soup with garlic. none of us found the healthy fare desirable.
adults were schlurping it down, asking for more. escarole, parsley, watercress, arugula, chicory
all floating in a chestnut brown hot liquid with big lugworts of garlic and onion.
i hated it. i cried. i begged not ot have to eat such a pathetic presentation. ” why can’t i have campbell’s soup?” i would think to myself.
the children around me were my cousins. at that house, i had sixteen of them. they had to eat this stuff every Sunday and some days of the week,
if It didn’t all get eaten on Sunday. they urged me to “be quiet, just gulp it.” when no one was looking, you could pick up the bowl to your lips,
don’t breathe and just suck it down without tasting it. if you didn’t breathe, it worked. the raggely shafts of leaves, some of them five inches long,
would empty down to your belly, as long as the soup kept on pouring. if it stopped midstream, a raffely shaft could be half down to the stomach
and still touching your teeth. this would cause a coughing fit. some grownup, then, would see you with the bowl in your face, off the table,
and this was not allowed. so you were at peril of getting whacked or taken off the table to eat in the kitchen with any other badly behaved cousins who were likely to be having a better time, feeding their revulsive soups to dogs who lived as pets at the house, too.

Grandma lived to be ninety-nine years old and she always seemed younger than she was.
i was reminded of the wretching as i cut watercress and parsley into my escarole soup this morning. its a cold rainy autumn day.
everyone wants to stay home. grownups around here welcome greens and herbs that help the body work better.
i am grateful that my Grandmother taught us to eat, using foods as medicine.
i am thankful that i remembered how to eat hot peppers, garlic and bitter escarole.
i am encouraged that our lack of gratitude back then, did never stop her from teaching us the old genuine ways of traditional fare.
she could have given us pop tarts. we would have liked her better then.