End-of-Term Blues

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The end of the semester is always hard. That last week or two where it feels like another couple hours a day are necessary to even begin to manage, the last-minute pleading as students begin to realize that work is coming due and there won’t be any more second chances – and all of this on top of the regular daily rhythms of family life. The end is hard every semester; every semester it feels like it’s harder.

And then, something steps in to save me from sinking into my own misery: this from a blog I had followed years ago that the author has picked back up, for sad reasons of her own, but hers is a voice I’m selfishly happy to hear again.

I will not be who I was. I will not return to normal. I will not move on and forget about this time. And if I could do all of those things, wouldn’t it be sort of tragic? Wouldn’t it be a shame if this path of pain was a kind of loop track, dumping me off at the beginning of the journey, undisrupted and pretending I had never left home as I waited for the scars to fade? This path is taking me into a new place, and each loss is a sign of a piece of me I cannot carry into the future worldI am becoming something new and unexpected. What are you becoming next?

It’s the path! Breathe in, breathe out, accept that this is just the path right now. Things will look different tomorrow when classes are done, next week when exams are done, once grades are posted. Things will look different because we will be different.

Try-a-New-Food-Thursday: Red Lentil Soup

mercimekcorbasi

This is hands-down my favorite soup ever (and I’m a soup lover), and probably my favorite workhorse Turkish recipe. It’s simple, fast, and adaptable. Did I say kid-friendly? That should have come first. KID-FRIENDLY. With hidden vegetables no less. And cheap. That should have come second. Kid-friendly, cheap, simple, fast, adaptable. It took me longer to describe it than it will take you to make it!

Ingredients

For enough to serve 4 adults as a first course (not the whole meal). Or 6 picky kids.

  • Onion (1/2, roughly chopped)
  • Butter or oil for sauteing (a pat or so; a couple teaspoons)
  • Red lentils about a cup (these really look more orange than red, methinks…)
  • Other veggies you want to sneak in. I often thrown in diced potato and carrot. The orangey color of the lentils nicely hides the carrot color, and cooked carrot adds a light sweetness that isn’t overpowering. Particularly when paired with the potato, it’s a great combo. I usually do one mediumish potato and 1-2 carrots.
  • Some people add rice. I wouldn’t do that because I prefer this soup pureed, and pureed rice just becomes gluey, esp. if you are trying to save some for another day. But, so many people love the non-pureed, rice-included version that I had to mention it. But I still don’t recommend it. If you want to ignore me, just add the rice when you add everything else, and it will cook just fine. Only add maybe a quarter cup of rice.
redlentils
aren’t they lovely in their carrot-hiding orange glow?

 

Directions

  1. Saute the onion.
  2. Throw in the red lentils and whatever other veggies you like.
  3. Cook until everything is soft, 10-15 minutes.
  4. Puree. Stick blenders work well here, but a regular old upright one does the job as well.
  5. Serve!
  6. Squeeze a little lemon on top, to taste. Do try this; it’s delicious.
  7. Garnish with parsley if you are reeeally fancy.
  8. Scoop the parsley off the kid’s soup and leave the poor, wilted piles in the middle of the table, to stare at you sadly  throughout dinner.
  9. Field questions like “Is this carrot?!” by silently showing the kids what a red lentil looks like. If you don’t actually say anything, it’s not lying.

Ta-da!

I should note that this is one of those soups that every Turkish family seems to have a different favorite way of making. This is my American-Turkish fusion variety. My Turkish family seems to like it and approve. If you want to explore more varieties, just search for Mercimek Corbasi.

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