Showing posts with label leave takings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label leave takings. Show all posts

20 November 2008

Leave Takings and a Low-Sodium Soup Base

In recent weeks I've said a lot about the act of coming home, but I've said little about the sad process of leaving a place you love.

On days before departures - departures from France, usually - I feel jittery and empty and I take comfort in small household tasks. On our last night in the Lot Valley, I cobbled together a pot of soup, using a few leftover onions, a cube of chicken bouillon and mozzarella cheese. And lots of water, because the bouillon was salty (we drank water all night long, it seemed). I much prefer my old standby recipe or this cheesy variation I made last year in Paris.

I made garlic toast from the heel of a baguette and we ate the rest of my tarte tatin. We dragged out our last meal in the cozy yellow kitchen, and then walked out to the pool in the dusk to say our goodbyes to the big field and the vineyard and hills beyond it. (The day before, we had finally taken the road that wended its way up there, a one lane road, narrow and twisty like most mountain roads in France, praying we would not meet another vehicle.)

Then we tidied up the kitchen for the last time, and called it an early night. I was torn, wanting to stay and wanting to leave. Fortunately, two days in Paris lie ahead. And then we left all over again.

Leaving home for a trip is exciting. Leaving home and leaving my husband behind, as I did two weeks ago, tears me up until my car turns the corner toward the highway. Then I begin to relish my adventure and my alone-ness. I miss him terribly, of course, and I am always happy to come home again.

For those homecomings, I keep containers of soup base in the freezer, so I can create a quick pot of soup even when je suis fatigué.

My Favorite Low-Sodium Soup Base


  • 2 large potatoes, washed and sliced
  • 4 carrots, cut into chunks
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 medium onions, peeled and quartered
  • 1 apple, quartered
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 10 cups cold water


Combine all ingredients in large stockpot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30-60 minutes. Strain and discard solids. Makes eight cups. I split in half and freeze it if I'm not ready to make soup.

What soup would comfort you tonight?