In Election Season, I Make Soup

It’s election season, which means that there’s a special hostility in the autumn air.

I don’t hate Mitt Romney. I just don’t think he would be the best president. He’s a smart man and he’s a rich man. I’m a Democrat with socialist leanings. I think the government is spending too much money, but I also think it’s fine for the government to spend a lot of money keeping the infrastructure of our country as strong as it can be for “the least of these.” I know that “the least of these” can occasionally be con artists and drug addicts and lazybones. I know a lot of really privileged people who are those things as well. It doesn’t do to cut programs and entitlements to millions of people in need (and honestly, that includes the vast, VAST majority of us at some point in our lives) because there’s some corruption and waste in the system.

So that’s all I have to say about that. Tax me: I can take it. I won’t like it, but I won’t starve. But please, Mr. President, keep working on universal health care and job creation and the infrastructure of our cities and towns, and please fund education and public radio and other programs that contribute to the common good. I live in a commonwealth and I believe in its ideals. I do not believe in the accumulation of obscene amounts of wealth, and I do not believe in the expenditure of billions of dollars by ANYONE in order to obtain public office. This campaign spending is a travesty.

Oh, my. I said I wasn’t going to say anymore.

I am reading. I am reading books, journals, and fashion blogs. On occasion, late at night with a cup of decaf Earl Grey in hand, I read about politics. But I carefully limit my intake, as though political punditry is a particularly gut-rotting form of booze and I a good time girl at a speakeasy looking to “tie one on.” “C’mon, Blousy,” I tell that inner flapper. “Be careful with that stuff. It’s pure poison.”

I walk a little more slowly and cautiously through my days, shielding my eyes and scuttling away when conversations threaten to turn ugly. I dodge the subject of politics with dear friends who stand on the other side of the fence, and appreciate our tacit mutual agreement not to fight. I make soup.

PeaceBang’s Election Season White Bean, Meatball, Kale and Lemon Soup

Soak 2 cups of white beans overnight. Navy or cannellini are great.

Rinse the beans the next day and put them on to simmer in about 5 cups of fresh water.

When beans have been simmering for awhile, smash up a few fat garlic cloves, chop them, and throw them in the water.

Add 2 TBS of Better than Bouillon Chicken Stock to the pot and stir until dissolved.

After the beans are almost as soft as you want them (it depends on the freshness of the beans — maybe an hour? an hour and 15?), throw in a half bag of frozen chopped kale.

Add thawed pre-cooked meatballs (mine are made of pork and beef). Cook through until warmed.

When you’re ready to turn off the heat, squeeze 1-2 lemons into the soup and stir well.

Let the soup sit a bit before serving. The flavors just get better with time.

If you want a creamier soup, simply blend most of the beans and kale with an immersion blender or in a food processor before adding the meatballs.


5 Replies to “In Election Season, I Make Soup”

  1. Thanks for the soup recipe. I try to collect them.

    But I’m really wondering what you think about Honey Boo Boo’s family asking for more money from TLC. I find it completely fascinating.

  2. why do you have to thaw the meatballs? why not just throw them in and let the hot soup thaw them? am I missing something? btw I made the soup – it was really good – I keep kale in my freezer all year – when it’s cheap in the fall I wash it, spin it dry and put it in ziploc bags – when I want it I just break off as many pieces as I want – I put it in spaghetti sauce and soups and chili – if I want it to disappear I cut it up with scissors as it falls into the pot. [Why do I thaw the meatballs first? I don’t know! Your way makes perfect sense! I think probably I did it that way because I didn’t really want to cook the meatballs much more, just to have them be warmed through and still moist. I wasn’t sure if thawing them in the simmering soup would dry them out. What do you think? Is that bad chemistry? I never took chemistry. That’s why I don’t bake. – PB]

  3. I don’t know food chemistry either I guess I’ll have to try both ways to see – I have always done it my way and I don’t remember any dried out or overcooked meatballs –

  4. I love your soup recipe. I just made it but I substituted lentils for the beans, fresh collard greens for the frozen kale, italian sausage for the meatballs, canned chicken broth for the water and boullion, and an orange for one of the lemons. Otherwise (the garlic?) I followed it exactly and it was DElicious. 😉

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