7 February: A Shared Lunch for Friends

‘Too few of us perhaps, feel that the breaking of bread, the sharing of salt, the common dipping into one bowl, mean more than the sharing of a need’

Yuan Mei (1716-1797)

After its foundation by George Fox in the late 17th century and before The Society of Friends became commonly known as Quakers, one of its early names was ‘The Friends of the Truth’. Long after the Society abandoned the idea it might have a monopoly on truth, the word ‘Friend’ was still used to describe a Quaker and it is even now the usual form of address between Quakers.

Today Penzance Friends are sharing a vegetarian lunch which I’m hosting. Everyone will bring something to eat, no one will co-ordinate what is brought and miraculously it always seems to go together. I’m going to make soup and bread. Friends will bring quiches and salads but really it will be pot luck all round. I love these occasions; as Yuan Mei implies, sharing our food and our home is one of the most sacred and ancient ways of celebrating our common humanity. Why don’t we do it more?

A simple soup for lots of people.

1. 2 onions, 4-5 carrots, 3-4 sticks celery 2 cloves of garlic, 1 pepper, 1 small celeriac root, 1 medium potato, a big slug of olive oil.

2. 2 tins chopped tomatoes, 2 tins cannellini beans, vegetable stock to cover. Mixed herbs, a bay leaf, half an orange. I made this soup vegan, but if you have any parmesan rind add it with the liquid.

3. Half a cabbage, about 100g small pasta – I used conchigliette because I couldn’t get risoni, cooked rice or another grain would do as well.

Chop everything on list 1 into small chunks about the size of a dice and sweat in the oil for about 10 minutes.

Add everything on list 2 and simmer gently until the vegetables are just soft. Taste and add seasoning. You can pause at this stage and leave the soup for several hours or overnight.

Warm the soup through and add everything on list 3 about 15 minutes before you want to serve it. Sprinkle with lots of finely chopped parsley and serve with grated cheese and bread.

Infinitely variable.

Advices and Queries number 42: ‘Try to live simply. A simple lifestyle freely chosen is a source of strength….’

1 comment:

sparkle said...

this is a beautiful blog. thankyou