Saturday, April 26, 2008

Good for the soul

Good morning, pals.

So, we've come to Kansas to see our family here. How lucky we are to be part of a family this big, with so much remarkable strength, and an endless well of kindness and love. Eight years ago, when I came to Kansas for the first time, the experience I had here changed me in more ways than I can define for you in one moment.

I bring my daughter here when Josh is away, because these are her people and because what they instilled in my Husband and in turn our family, has made us solid and survivors as a unit. I want my little girl to understand not just what makes a family, but what makes them powerful together, and for one another.

Around the family table here there are a wealth of diverse talents and strengths: Engineers, mothers, teachers, athletes, care-givers, but most of all, you will find the best kind of humanitarians. When one hurts, all hurt. When one suceeds, all are in attendance. I remember vividly how extraordinary a gesture it was to see aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends at a sports game or an event for one another's children. They are there for church events and hobbies. But even more prominent than their liklihood to be there when there is something to cheer for, is their unflinching sharing and shouldering of each other's burdens: You will not go alone unless you choose to. You will not be judged. They don't need to say the words, but inplicit in their shoulder-to-shoulder commitment is an unspoken creed: Sit tight. The whole world is coming as fast as they can.

In the world in which I lived and worked prior to arriving here for the first time, this kind of thing was shamefully foreign (with the exception of one noteable group of people). When help was needed you could see people balancing a schedule and finances in their heads: Between hair appointments and parties do I have the time to run over and do that for you? Is there a way someone else could do it instead? Could I do it tomorrow? But this group will drop everything, at any time of day without a second thought to what they left behind or what it cost them; All they need to know is that you need a hand.

I imagine Cindy Burch is a lot like them, down in Waxahatchie, Texas. Springtime is the busiest of catering seasons, and surely the Dove's Nest must be solidly booked. But, the other day when I had a pile of avocados to use and the weather was warm enough to wish for a chilled soup, Cindy was kind enough to have both provided the Chilled Avocado Soup recipe in her cookbook, The Dove's Nest Restaurant Cookbook, but also to post it for you.

This recipe will serve you well though a multitude of hostessing scenarios, as will all of the Dove's Nest recipes. It will not take long to make, looks beautiful in the bowl, and is the best excuse yet to pull out the soup spoons gathering dust in the sideboard: good food, that's good for you.

It may also serve you well to know this soup will keep for a day or two in the fridge and retain it's color if you use the juice of one lime in the making. If you add only one cup of chicken stock, it also makes a lovely dip for vegetables, or a great new topping for huevos rancheros.

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