I am still working with last week’s leftovers here…
Very very many years ago, when I was four, my mom married my dad, who moved us from Arizona to Vermont. Eventually, Vermont would become my home, but I think at first, it was a little new and different. For one thing, you know. Snow. Loads and loads and pounds of the stuff. For another, a new school, new people, and I think I was a little bit shy and pretty sensitive as a kid.
Once my mom told me that she’d met some new people, and that they had twins, and that some time I would be able to play with these twins. The whole thing seemed pretty exotic to only child me. I remember once being with my mom and some woman with big bald toddler twins, and asking my mother with a mixture of excitement and disappointment whether these were my twins. They were not.
And then one day there was a birthday party and there were my twins, turning four. Jessica, I think, standing on the big rock in their front yard, and Carla running around. I don’t remember much. I assume there was cake, and ice cream, and presents, purchased by my mom, but presented by me. I do know, however, that that was the start of Vermont being home. It was the start of endless sleepovers and adventures, finding kittens in a barn, playing king of the mountain on a rusty trash pile in the woods*, staying up too late, Archie comics, Mad Magazines, and swimming in the pond. It felt like a lifetime. It feels like a lifetime.
We went to different schools during elementary school, so all our time was play time. In junior high, we were in the same school, but different grades. We never had classes together. But in our junior high, you could take Russian. I did. And Jessica did. When I was in 8th grade, and she was in 7th, the Russian classes held a Russian dinner, where we both cooked and served. I think it was a fundraiser for a trip to Montreal for a Russian Easter Service. (Here is what I do not recommend: Russian Easter Services. They last for three hours, and they are in Russian way beyond your limited ability to count to ten).
There is a picture in the yearbook of Jess and me, serving at the Russian dinner, a moment in time before high school hit, and then college, and what felt like it would last forever ending as we all moved to different parts of the country, and then back again, and every once in a while we find each other, and those tiny pieces of ourselves that we left in the woods.
That Russian dinner was the first place I saw borscht, and tiropites and came at the end of my Russian adventure, but not Jessica’s. Jessica went on to major in Russian at Wellesley and visit Moscow, and come back and surprise me with how taken she was by its beauty.
Beet and Ginger Soup
- 7 small roasted beets in their skins, peeled and chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 pieces of ginger root, the size of my thumb, chopped
- olive oil
- 4 cups of stock
- 2 shakes of dried orange peel
- 1 drop of orange oil, if you can find it
- By this point, you know the drill, right? Chop the onion and ginger, and sauté them in the olive oil until the onion is soft
- Throw in the chopped beets
- Add the stock
- Add the orange peel and orange oil
- Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for a while – 30 -45 minutes
- Blend with the immersion blender.
I’m probably going to make some little mushroom dumplings with this, and throw in some feta cheese.
* Vermont woods are often home to rusty trash piles. As much fun as “Rusty Trash Pile King of the Mountain” might sound, you should really not try it unless your tetanus shot is up to date, which, I guess ours were, because none of us ever got tetanus.