Split Pea Soup with Dumplings
The Nana I knew never sang a note, wore a girdle and stockings held up by garters, chain smoked menthol cigarettes and was one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever known. She had an entire drawer filled with silky slips that were being saved for a special occasion and was an amazing bake, maker of soups and listener. She smelled of pot-roast, cigarettes and Jean Nate, which to this day, is the smell I associate with love.
Born in 1899, my Nana’s stories of herself as a young girl often included the words ugly and dumb. Others told a story of a young woman with a beautiful voice who was dependable, capable and a great cook.
Considered a difficult match, she was married off to a man in another city who was eventually declared mentally ill. This allowed her the opportunity to quietly divorce and return home. Her second husband was a much older man with 3 children from 2 different wives. (One had died in childbirth and the other from cancer.) He and my Nana had two more children. My mother and my Uncle Eddie who died in the Korean War long before I was born.
This is my Nana’s Pea Soup w/ Dumplings recipe.
- Prep Time1 hr
- Cook Time3 hr
- Total Time4 hr
- Serving Size8 servings
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery, finely diced
- 4 carrots, thickly sliced
- 3-4 Tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 2 large bay leaves
- 3 cups dried split peas
- 9 cups well-flavored stock
- ½ teaspoon liquid smoke or smoky paprika
- Black pepper and salt to taste
- 2 eggs
- 2 Tablespoons oil
- 3/4 cup water or milk
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
Preparing the soup
Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and celery and sauté until onion is translucent. Add the stock, carrots, bay leaves, split peas and liquid smoke or smoky paprika. Let simmer until the peas are totally soft and creamy.
While the soup is simmering...
While the soup is simmering make the dumplings. Beat the 2 eggs with the 2 Tablespoons of oil. Add the water (or milk) flour, salt and baking powder and beat until a thin batter forms. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Bring a large pot of water to boil and add 1 teaspoon salt to the boiling water. Drop spoonfuls of the batter into the boiling water. Once the dumplings float to the top, turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
Remove the bay leaves from the soup. Drain the dumplings and gently mix them into the soup. Salt and pepper to taste and serve.
Do you know someone who would love this recipe?
We All Have Flawed Foundational Training
My mom would have turned 80 this past week. Her birthday, a kerfuffle around my dad’s care, a book group discussion about Rebecca Solnit’s memoir about her mother “The Faraway Nearby,” and a funny conversation with my daughter about her grocery shopping style, have me thinking about how our parents are our first teachers.
In particular, I’ve been thinking about how they provide our foundational relationship training. And it’s made me a little uncomfortable. (Okay, perhaps, all out terrified!)
The terrified isn’t because my parents were evil or had ill intent but because I was raised by people who happen to not be perfect. And so were my kids! That means that in spite of best intentions, my little spirit was squashed more than once during my young life and I, in turn, did the same to my children.
This week as I ruminated over the often rocky relationship I had with my parents and they with each other, I was reminded that here I stand, an imperfect individual with flawed foundational training who has unintentionally passed some of that on in my own relationships.
Luckily, that’s only part of the story.
If relationships were only about smooth sailing and happily ever after we would actually miss out on the real value in having them.
In fact, the best relationships are about growth and change and learning and well-being and acceptance and awe and boundaries and empathy and connection and lots of other big and little things. Of course, happiness is part of any good relationship; I just no longer buy into the belief that it’s the point or even the end goal.
For me this has meant changing my perception of what my relationships with my husband, children, friends, sibling, parents, and co-workers are about. When I remember to shift my thinking I have all sorts of room for the mistakes that inevitably happen in all relationships. I stop wishing for happily ever after and instead accept and integrate the discomfort that comes with the change and growth that all relationships require.
But shifting our thinking is hard, especially when a relationship is difficult.
This week, as I struggled to make peace with my less than perfect upbringing, my flawed foundational training and my own less than perfect parenting I initially felt victimized and ashamed… cheated out of my own happily ever after. But then, after talking to my daughter and then my sister, I was reminded that these feelings were simply a chance to learn something new about myself, about love, and about acceptance.
We all have flawed foundational training, some more than others.
But that’s not an excuse unless we hold on to the fairytale that relationships are about happily ever after. (Which, if we’re being realistic probably didn’t really materialize given the truly awful foundational training that the likes of Cinderella, Snow White and even the Paperbag Princess experienced… but I digress.)
Instead, if we can switch our thinking and realize that the uncomfortable parts of our relationships are an opportunity; an opportunity to learn more about ourselves, love and acceptance, that’s when we discover the real gift of any relationship. The gift that is growth and change and learning and empathy and acceptance and all the other big and little things that make relationships interesting.
If you’re experiencing an “interesting” relationship right now (and who isn’t, in some part of their life?!?!) I encourage you to take a deep breath and then another. And then, once a little calm has settled in (this may take a minute, an hour, a day, a year or a life time) there is space to remember the discomfort is nothing more than an opportunity to learn something new about yourself, about love and acceptance.