I am a writer and a Mommy. I am a devout Jew. These are the most important books I have read: The Tao te Ching by Lao Tzu, Stephen Mitchell translation. Spiritual Divorce by Debbie Ford. Living Inspired by Akiva Tatz. My kitchen would suggest I'm a closet carny, as would my love of Branson.

Friday, September 13, 2013

French Onion Soup

I made French onion soup today.  My first try in our effort to have a family recipe for special occasions and I'm surprisingly pleased with the results. This was a great metaphor for life.  And it's appropriate because tonight is Yom Kippur.

This is the holiest time of the year for a Jew.  You are closest to Gd this day, standing before him putting aside all human concerns.  You don't wash, you don't put make-up on or fancy clothes.  You don't eat or drink.  You wear white clothes and focus completely inward.

You pray in earnest to Gd, admitting that you have done a lot of terrible things.  You acknowledge sincerely that you have done wrong, you regret it and you commit to improving.

You ask Gd to do something big for you.

You ask Gd to forgive you, which is not like when another person forgives you.  Gd is perfect so when Gd forgives you it's like you never did the things you are asking forgiveness for and that is a miracle.  You ask Gd to do this.   You ask Gd to believe in you and give you another chance.

I have been so torn up about Yom Kippur this year because I am nursing my son and I do not want to fast.  When I had my other two babies I was fully a reform Jew and did not even consider fasting.

I believed that when pregnant or nursing of course I would not fast but I have since learned that in traditional Judaism I am obligated to fast while nursing and while pregnant.

The law is a bit more lenient for pregnant women but you have no excuse if you are simply breastfeeding.  I know what happens to my milk if I don't eat enough, let alone not eat at all.  And forget about if I don't drink enough.  If I don't drink enough sometimes I still have enough milk but I get a terrible headache and feel very ill.  Still, these are not reasons to abstain from this most important fast of the year.

Back to the soup.

In life you often think of things you'd like to do but they seem a bit too complicated to try.  Too hard.  And many times we decide that it would be better not to try if we calculate the odds of us failing are too high.

But after 40 years I have learned that nothing is ever as bad as you think it will be.  Nothing is ever as hard.  Maybe nothing is ever as easy or good either.  In other words, if you want to do something, just go for it because you can't really estimate what will happen next.  (I guess I should try to fast...)

I looked at many recipes and came up with my own.

Here is my recipe:

1/2 yellow onion
1/2 red onion
3 Tblsps butter
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/8 cup sherry
4 cups beef broth
2 cups chicken broth
dash of sugar
salt and pepper
gruyere cheese
baguette

Slice the onions and caramelize them in the butter with a dash of sugar on low heat for 15 to 20 minutes.

Add the wine, deglaze the pan and cook for about five minutes.

Pour onions into the mixed broths and add salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer for 40 minutes.  I didn't add celery but I think I will next time for taste.  You would remove it before serving.

Add sherry and simmer for five minutes.

Pour soup into oven-proof bowls.  Place bowls on cooking sheet.  Add 1/4 inch thick toasted slices of baguette topped with gruyere and broil till bubbly.



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