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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Randi Kreiss
Halfway through and in the thick of it

This feels like an all-Monday week, hard to get through. We’re midway through winter but it seems as if we’ve paid all our dues, with wind chills dropping through the floor day after day, week after week.

Not to disrespect Punxsutawney Phil, but spring seems a long way away. To add to our winter woes, many school districts have been forced to cancel the traditional February break after so much school was lost during Hurricane Sandy. The shortest month may very well feel like a long-playing record.

If you’re tired of sunset at zero dark thirty, if you’re fed up with the company — CNN, Fox and MSNBC — if you’re sick of political haggling and debates over gun laws, if you’re bored with ridiculous hearings over presidential appointments and you never want to hear from Wayne LaPierre again, then do what I do to regain my center: prepare a delicious winter soup.

This is not a frivolous suggestion. The cooking of a winter soup is a semi-religious ritual that, when executed properly, can feed all the senses, drive away the blues and leave you feeling satisfied and happy to be alive. You think I exaggerate? Listen to me.

More than any other food, soup warms the soul along with the body. It takes time to eat, spoonful by spoonful. It makes the kitchen smell inviting and, in fact, gives the entire house the yummies. You can cook a soup all day or, if it’s an after-work project, in a few minutes. I never met a human being who didn’t feel better after eating a bowl of soup. You can cook your way through fatigue, through despair, through household budget crunches and through family travail. If the world’s sworn enemies would just sit down to share a pot of soup, we just might achieve universal peace.

OK, that last part is a wild exaggeration, but would it hurt to place a bowl of lentil soup in front of Benjamin Netanyahu and Khaled Meshal? Closer to home, perhaps Barack Obama should invite the Tea Party to a Soup Fest at the White House. Might just grease the wheels of government.

For you and me, the issue is local, not global. We need to stay warm and get through the rest of February, all of March and probably most of April. We can switch to gazpacho come the summer solstice.

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