First day of school – and soup

A lot of interesting and noteworthy things have happened to me in the past couple of days, but, in an action that reeks sadly of predictability, it takes food to get me started writing in my journal. Maybe I’m really meant to be a food writer. Or am I already? Anyway, I made soup tonight and it hit the spot. Under normal circumstances I am not a big soup person. In fact, as I have repeatedly told my mother who adores soup, I never want soup unless I’m wanting soup. Think about that one for a moment and you might get what I mean. Tonight, I don’t know why, I felt like something simple and hot and nourishing for my second dinner (more later on why it’s a second dinner), and that something felt like it should be soup.

Someone told me once that she didn’t make soup because she had no idea how to make it. Personally I think soup is one of the easiest things to make, because unless you are very particular about your soup–just plain hot and liquidy won’t cut it–you can make it out of practically nothing. If you have milk, a blender or food processor, and any vegetable, you can make a creamy soup, and if you have potatoes, you won’t need the blender. If you have anything that has a strong flavor (onions, dried shrimp, meat which I do not eat, whatever), and water, and something else to stick in it, you can make Non Creamy Soup with Things In It. It helps, obviously, to have in your kitchen a variety of stuff that makes anything taste good, like soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, pepper, etc. This is what I did to make my soup: I went to my fridge and just took out everything that was soupable. That turned out to be chives, green onions, half a yellow onion, an ear of corn, two zucchini, parsley, an egg (my last one ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ). I washed and cut and whatever else I had to do, then sauteed the yellow onion, the corn and the zucchini (stuff that I didn’t want to eat raw) together until they smelled good. I added a pie pan and a half full of water (I love using pie pans for everything :D) and let it come to a boil, then threw in the chopped-up green onions, parsley, and chives. I added some salt, white pepper, and sesame oil, and stirred together soy sauce and Chinese wine and cornstarch and poured that in too. That in itself is a perfectly yummy soup. But I wanted noodles and egg. So I did this thing that I love doing with egg and those dried Chinese noodles that come in a little round: I boiled the noodles until they were almost done, then loosened the round shape a little to make a nest, cracked the egg into the middle of the nest, and let it boil a little longer. Then I took all of that out and put it in my bowl of soup, added some more soy sauce, sesame oil, and sugar, and that was my second dinner. It was so good. I ate it all, steaming hot, and before I even quite realized I was done, the last drop was gone.

So that was my second dinner. I want to explain about why I had two dinners, but I think I have to go back to yesterday first.

Yesterday was our first day of school, as you doubtless know by now. It was a very different beginning for me because at first I felt like I wasn’t ready for it, because I wasn’t panicking and running around getting ready. Then I realized that there is absolutely nothing wrong with not panicking and running around, and that lack of panic may in fact indicate readiness for the school year to start again. I think my totally nonacademic summer–my first such summer since I don’t know when–allowed me to explore life and other pursuits in a way that I have never had the freedom to do before, and that changed my perspective on school. Before, since I didn’t really do anything outside of school, school was the most looming focus of my life. But after a summer of yoga and reading and hanging out with friends and family, I’ve started to feel that school is only one part of my life, not the sole focus, which I think is a much healthier view to take. I’ve never had a lot of stress, but my back-to-school stress level was just about zero. Like I said, no panicking and running around. My schedule was a lot less set than in past semesters, but I just didn’t worry about it. Actually, there is no reason for worry. I am a senior and my thesis is behind me, and I only need two more courses to graduate. I am thinking of graduating this semester, but if for some reason I decide not to, I can take another semester. It is a very, very nice place to be. I worry a little that this relaxed view will result in my not studying and getting bad grades, or that in getting back into studying I will lose the sense of tranquillity, but since I’m so relaxed I’m just going with the flow. ;b

I say my stress level was almost zero going into school, because I did have a little anxiety about my first class of the day. I’ve been wanting to take beginning modern dance for a couple of years now, but it’s never worked out. I auditioned two springs ago and didn’t get in (spring is a continuation of fall, so it’s harder), and in every subsequent semester I had some time conflict with the course so I couldn’t even think about auditioning again. When I went into the audition this time, though, I didn’t even know what I wanted anymore. After a intensive week of yoga practice, I felt physically in better shape than ever, but I was conflicted about whether I really wanted to spend this semester learning dance or devoting more time to yoga. I leaned toward yoga, but that would mean an extra $105 every month. I don’t have that kind of money but I figured I’d find it. I love my yoga studio. It’s a new studio and the owners are very earnest about having everything be perfect, and I love that. Classes are very small and everyone is incredibly nice. The little details make it wonderful: quick head massages at the end of class, eye pillows, free water or tea with real cups that you wash afterward if you’re nice enough. ;b They recognize me there now. ๐Ÿ˜€ It’s a great feeling. BUT… amazingly, I got into dance. There were a billion people trying out (really more like sixty or seventy, but that’s already a ton, isn’t it, to be dancing all in one room), and although I could feel that I was better than last time and was certain I could improve given practice, I wasn’t sure the instructor would be able to see that. Somehow she did. I ran around the rest of the day totally euphoric. I’m a dancer! I felt the same way last year when I got into piano ensemble. I’m a pianist! Now I’m a pianist with tendinitis, but oh well. I retain my right to that title. ;b

This entry is getting really long so I’ll save the descriptions of my other classes for tomorrow. The dance bit is enough, anyway, to explain why I had two dinners today. See, as usual, I do know where I started out. Because I have dance first thing in the morning, and I want to stretch and be awake before I go to class, I have to get up around eight. I have to eat something before I go, but not so much that it weighs me down. Yesterday and today that something has been a slice of whole wheat toast with peanut butter and honey. Yesterday I only had one class after dance, so I came home and ate lunch, but today I had class straight from morning till five pm. Because my early morning time was spent stretching and eating and getting ready, I didn’t pack myself any food (and really, there’s nothing I can pack in five minutes that’s socially acceptable to eat during class… curried chickpeas and black jasmine rice? yeah right), and so I had no lunch. Amazingly, that didn’t bother me at all. After dance today I was on a dance high but hugely thirsty so I went to Taqueria Reyes in the Bear’s Lair and bought an enormous strawberry agua fresca. I don’t know how many ounces those things are but they’re really, really big. Other than that I only had water and a Luna bar, but my energy level was even higher than normal. I was totally focused and didn’t feel tired at all; I didn’t even feel the need to eat the Luna bar until almost three o’clock. I think it’s the sugar from the agua fresca, and the adrenaline from dance, but it was a great feeling. When I came home, though, I was ready to eat something, so I heated up those chickpeas and that rice that I didn’t think I should bring to school, and had that. I thought that would be my dinner, because after all five thirty is not an unreasonable time to have dinner, and it was a fair amount of food. After a shower, though, and some puttering around, I was hungry again, and that’s when I made soup.

Thank you for reading. ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope you are having a good day! ๐Ÿ™‚

[This post was imported on 4/10/14 from my old blog at]