Sunday, December 28, 2008
Happy, Hearty New Year!
Every new year, my mom has this tradition of making a delicious butternut squash soup. I have memories of New Year's Day morning, getting up late from bed and being greeted by mouth-watering aromas coming from the kitchen.
I'll miss my mom's special soup this year. I could dare try to replicate it, but no one can match my mom's cooking!
Well, it got me thinking about soups in general.
Soups can be a ridiculously simple way of having a meal and getting LOTS of nutrients at the same time.
C'mon, I peel some carrots, some potatoes, throw in some garlic and onions. Add water in the pot. Spice it up w/ some oregano, black pepper, and some soy sauce. And I let the water and heat do the real heavy work while I take care of other things around the house.
In Michio Kushi's Macrobiotic Diet book, he explains how soups have always been a part of traditional cuisines. In the Orient, miso soup and kombu stock were used; in the Middle East and Europe, barley, buckwheat, and onion soups, plus others are favorites; lentils and chick-pea soups in India; Africa has got their sorghum soups and broths made from root and tuber vegetables, and in the Americas, there's squash and pumpkin soups.
Ah! the soup should be ready!
If I've got time, I'll put the soup in a blender and puree all the vegetables into a smooth, uniform soup. If not, I'll just dig in.
And I'm not just eating simple vegetables, y'know. I'm also getting a rich broth of anti-oxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
Carrots kick butt containing Vitamin A, folic acid, iron, potassium and carotenes. They help improve night vision and intenstinal problems. Loaded with anti-oxidants, they protect against lung and other types of cancer. And eating lots of these root vegetables lowers cholesterol and boosts the body's immune system.
Potatoes has got dietary fiber and contain potassium, vitamin B6, and vitamin C, along with other nutrients.
Garlic and onions are part of the same family: the Lillacaea family. Ah, where to begin to praise the garlic. It has a powerful oil called allicin which prevents blood-clotting thus reducing blood pressure. It's helpful for those suffering from high cholesterol and heart disease b/c it inhibits production of cholesterol in the liver. Allicin has got anti-bacterial and anti-fungal powers. In fact, garlic was used as early as 2600 BCE in Egypt to keep workers building the ancient pyramids healthy and strong.
And onions, with their anti-biotic and anti-fungal properties can block tumor formation and reduce blood cholesterol levels.
Just think of all the other kinds of goodies you could add: celery, leek, cabbage, tomato, kombu, wakame, pumpkin, legumes for protein, parsley or dill for garnish....The more time you've got, the richer soup you can make.
Have a great year and G-d Bless!
FYI: I recently learned that adding oatmeal flakes to soup gives a velvety and thick consistency. I was pleasantly surprised.