After a weekend of peace and quiet in the countryside I arrived at my local grocery store to pick up a few necessary goods. Chaos ensued. Cars were honking, people were angry, everyone averting their eyes; rushing, pushing, ignoring. Who knew the pumpkin gods had stopped by and delivered 100+ new spice-infused products while I was gone? Surrounded by more people than I had been around the previous 48 hours, I was jarringly confronted with exponentially greater human disconnection. I was alone in an ocean of apple cider and oktoberfest beer. In contrast from this war field, ahem I mean parking lot, I had just spent two days with friends and strangers slowly passing the time, cooking, talking, and sharing about the ways life can be hard.
Feeling alone is not something fate simply decides but rather we have a part to play. We cannot and perhaps should not try to rid all our moments of loneliness, but we can try to build communities where we are known by others.
A friend recently shared that “to be human is to be creative”. There’s no way around it. Everyone consciously or unconsciously makes artistic choices. And as I considered how I may be considered an ‘artist’ of course I thought about the food I cook and the pictures I take. All of which I hope may drive people to connection with others. Perhaps its a soup you make, a sandwich you serve, or some coffee you brew; but enjoy these things with others. I hope through my efforts you may experience the longing for others and are inspired to create relationships that heal. Unlike the wasteland of the sanitized supermarket, we can redeem a simple squash to build relationships.
It couldn’t be easier, roast one butternut squash in a 350°F oven for 1 hour. You can also prepare some chicken seasoned with sage and thyme and bake with the squash for about 30 minutes. At the very least, once you get the squash in the oven roughly chop some onions, celery, and carrots to roast in the oven as well. As these three ingredients cook, boil some barley as an additional add-in for the soup.
Once each ingredient is done, add the roasted chopped squash (be sure to not include the rind) with the other veggies to a big pot and add a 500mL of chicken stock. Bring to a boil, and then lower it and puree these four ingredients until smooth. Add in a bay leaf simmer, before serving stir in the the chopped chicken and barley. If too thick for your fast add a little extra water to smooth it out. Test for seasonings, salt and pepper. Once finished, invite a friend over and share.