Thursday, August 20, 2009

Soup, Soup, Beautiful Soup!

Being on a liquid diet for six months has been a test of my patience, as has much of my life over the past three decades. I'm halfway through now and I cannot turn back so the only way out is to churn forward toward the distant shores of paradise, a plate of real food.

However, I can make and eat soup. Pureed soup only, which limits things rather sadly. Here is one that I really liked, though, and you could even do a cold version with mint like we had at the restaurant Fish in Paris at our home base in St. Germain.

Split Pea Soup

1 cup dried split peas
4 cups boiling water or broth
1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 stalk celery
1 T. dried thyme leaf
1 bay leaf
1 handful fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1/2 lb cooked or dried ham, chopped
Freshly ground pepper, sea salt
Ground parsley for garnish, reserved
Heavy Cream, for garnish, reserved

Put the peas into boiling water or broth, turn the heat off, and let rest for one hour. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer until peas are soft, about two hours. At this point I pureed the soup and served it in bowls garnished with a sprinkling of parsley and a nice little ribbon of cream floating on top.

Random Thoughts about Health Care

We just played at the Edmonton Folk Festival up in Alberta, Canada. Great festival,smoothly run and one we wish we could play every week forever.

I made it a point to ask the Canadians how they felt about their health

photo Alan Budd

care and the answer was uniformly positive, even effusive, with tales about how people had been spared bankruptcy and death by it. Not one negative word. The Canadians thought we were rubes to be so afraid of what they have.

It has been the same experience as we have traveled and worked in the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Holland, Scandinavia. Not one horror story. Sure, you may have to wait six months for non-emergency surgery if it involves a very specialized type of care, but you can also get really good quick treatment in the most out-of-the-way locations as well.

This swill that the right wingers are peddling about this subject is irritating when it is merely ignorant and makes me mad as hell when it is cynical and calculated, as in the case of Ms. Palin, that most despicable of humans, or William Kristol, whose ego long ago eclipsed his sense of decency. Or in the case of John Mackey, whose wealth and power have turned him into a selfish, nasty little man. I won't go back to Whole Foods, John, and thanks so much for your sense of mercy and kindness to us little guys down here at your feet.

I am literally living proof of the necessity for humane, affordable health care. I have been dealing with cancer now for thirty years and I won't go into the financial details now, but let me be clear: if it were not for the fact that I have access to health care, I would be bankrupt (or rather, my family would) and dead. I am uninsurable; I have pre-existing conditions. Apparently the Republican Party is ready to cast me and all the others like me onto the ice of greed and let us float away into the darkness. If John Mackey thinks that be eating food from his grocery store would keep me from any of these problems, then he is a fool.

I am tired of shallow thinking, lack of understanding, and loud nonsense about Hitler and Socialism. Americans had better lift this country up out of this petty little mire we are in, and fast, or we won't have enough left to cry over one of these days.

Kimmie Rhodes and Joe at the Edmonton Folk Festival
photo Alan Budd