You clearly know the season of Fall is upon us when there’s a little nip in the air, you break out the sweaters, the trees burst with magnificent, brilliant colors, you hear the sound of rustling leaves beneath your feet, and the aroma, along with the wonderful taste of the first soups of the season strike your senses. There is just something about soup that envelopes you, makes you feel all warm inside, embraces your heart, palate, and for whatever reason just feels like home.
Growing up, in an era where we were considered to be middle class, and honestly, reflecting back, I think we probably would have been considered poor by today’s standards. However, we were rich in family, and a long history of traditions. Being raised by an Italian mother, who grew up during the depression era, most dishes were referred to as “peasant food” but they were always delicious, and stretched to feed a family, small or large, and there was always enough, and room for the unexpected company. To many our meals weren’t elaborate but to me they were rich with an Italian heritage, along with flavors, tastes, and smells that fill my head, and heart with many special memories. The meal was a time where the family gathered around a table, and reunited from a day of school, play or work. Soups were made from anything, and everything. From the cheapest cut of beef to vegetables to beans to poultry. Everything in one pot, and it simmered for hours on the stove. Add a loaf of Italian bread, a little or a lot of grated cheese, rice, ditalini or friselle (Italian pepper biscuits), and ahhhh, a meal that was a feast.
Today, as a mother, and a Nana, I have taken my Italian family traditions, and the teachings from some of the best home cooks that I admire, and grew up with, and added my own twist on some old, and new favorite soups. Sometimes, we make life so complicated but there is no need to make soup complicated…keep it simple, make it with love, enjoy it with those you love, and add some great conversation. Family is about building strong bonds, making loving memories, and you can build, and make both around any meal.
La famiglia, and buon appetito!