Mom used to make delicious soup from the carcass of the Thanksgiving turkey… we kids gobbled it up, and she joked that the meal was “the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers.” In Mexico I have carried on the tradition… whenever turkey is cooked in our house, soup will follow.
Every year, as the Thanksgiving meal is cleared away, I fill a heavy-weight plastic bag with the bones and stray scraps of meat… and into the freezer it all goes.
Yesterday, I removed that bag of turkey bits and bones from its icy shelf,and let everything thaw. I assure you, this does not take long in Merida. I used the biggest pot I have, and filled it with the scraps, a piece of onion, celery leaves, coarse salt and black pepper corns. Then I covered the whole works with water. Like a Baptism.
It took about two hours for the unpromising mish-mash to boil and transform into rich broth. I then strained off the liquid and piled everything else onto a platter. Back on the burner went the broth, with the addition of 2 cups of garbanzos that I’d left soaking the night before. The pot slow-boiled until the garbanzos were soft
And while that was happening, Jorge helped me pick off every bit of meat from the heap of bones on the platter. We are always surprised by how much there is. We also peeled and diced 6 potatoes and 6 carrots, and just as we finished cutting the veggies and salvaging all the turkey we could, the garbanzos smelled done, and we added the final ingredients into the pot.
During the 15 -20 minutes it took for the soup to simmer to perfection, I set the table, chopped fresh parsley, put it into a pretty bowl and I filled a basket with French bread from Escargot (my favorite treat!)
The aroma wafting from the kitchen brought the household to the table so we could savor “the soup of our labor”. I could not help but think how soup-making parallels the living of our lives…
When we start out, we are nothing more than macromolecule building blocks: carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids. Our mothers nurture us and we develop into tiny but remarkable replicas of our birth parents. As we squeeze through the birth canal, we shed the flotsam and jetsam that sustained us through our nine month gestation. And with a primal cry, we begin walking our path, One fine day (upon college graduation? marriage? the birth of children?) Mom and Dad pronounced us: “ready for the bigger, wider world. “ But “ready” seems to come in fits and starts for me.
The past couple of months have not been easy, and sometimes I’ve felt like my turkey soup is all gone. But those who love me have helped me to see that I still have plenty left in my bowl.
As we sustain others… they sustain us.