A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Friday, March 14, 2014

What I Had for Lunch Today: Parmesan Soup

Remember when bones were free, or practically so? You asked the butcher for them when you wanted to make soup, or give a treat to your dog. Suet was the same: a waste product that bird lovers knew to ask about. The butcher went in the back and reappeared with a hunk, which you could wrap up in a piece of chicken wire and hang up in the back yard to attract chickadees and woodpeckers. Then the markets got wise, and now the fat and the bones cost as much as some of the meats.

Same thing with cheese rinds. Stores used to toss them; if you knew someone in the back, they might save them for you. Most people wouldn't even know what to do with them in any case. But then word got out about using them for gourmet soup, and now they're six to ten dollars a pound.

Here's some of that gourmet soup. What it lacks in beauty, it makes up for in taste. Half a pound of Parmigiano Reggiano rinds, an onion, a few cloves of garlic, a handful of Italian parsley, salt and pepper simmered for an hour with a quart and a half of water makes the broth. It's supposed to be strained, and the solids discarded. As if! I just chopped up the cheese into chewy nuggets and kept going. I added cooked cannellini and some ribbons of kale, cooked it a bit longer till the kale was tender, then drizzled olive oil over it to serve.

This is divine with a couple of slices of toasted sperlonga. Although spring is technically less than a week away, it's still ridiculously cold here, with views of snowbanks from all the windows. A pot of this will be long gone before anyone at the Emory House wants warm-weather fare.

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