Last week I had one of the roughest days I’ve had in a long time. It was raining and chilly, I was battling flu-like symptoms, behind on my dissertation and finally, just to put some icing on the cake, I had some bad news. It wasn’t my day. Lunch rolled around and I just didn’t feel like cooking (let alone eating) but knew I needed some sustenance if I were going to fight this bug. I peered into my woefully under-stocked fridge. There was no obvious solution to my food conundrum. But I did have these three things: Bread, cheese and a can of soup hiding in the back of my cupboard. The solution was clear, tomato soup and a grilled cheese. Forget chicken soup, this was my food for the soul. That warm soup you can feel sliding into your belly. That crunchy brown bread with melted cheese oozing out the sides.
It wasn’t just how good it tasted, but also the memories it evoked. It reminded me of any given Autumn Saturday during my childhood. Sharon and I would be forced to rake leaves in the backyard for three hours on a Saturday morning. We would spend those hours lamenting our situation, absolutely convinced there was something criminal about a father making his two daughters do manual labour when all other non-exploited children were watching Saturday morning cartoons. We would come inside for a well-deserved lunch break (with sizeable chips on our shoulders) and there would be a steaming bowl of tomato soup and a perfectly browned grilled cheese. This is one of the things (besides clam pasta) that my dad can cook well. And although it is not hard to cook or a ‘speciality’ in any way, it’s a meal that reminds me of him. We’d sit down around the table and all was right between us and dad. All wounds were (at least partially) healed.
Last week, I ate my healing lunch and felt strangely better. I tweeted “There is no ill in the world that a grilled cheese and a bowl of tomato soup can’t (at least partially) cure.” And my friend tweeted back, “Speak the gospel. That’s so true.”