This morning I woke up to the most luxurious smell of the early stages of soup cooking in a crock pot on my counter. Actually, I'm not sure it's quite soup yet, maybe it's just broth. Clearly I'm not in charge, I just happen to have a crock pot (found in a box of kitchen ware that I'm not sure how to use), and so my more culinary minded (and apt) friend came to my rescue and started this soup last night with instructions to let it be while it works its' magic. This was a great relief since I was no help at all in the prep part of the soup making. My main function was to sneak around the sides of her looking at the chicken carcass (CARCASS, THIS is a word that should not be used with food!) she was dismantling and shrieking "WHAT IS THAT?? WHAT IS IT!??!. I took Anatomy class, and Biology, and the worst part was when she pulled a long cord like thing out and laid it to one side."GAAAH WHAT IS THAT!! I'M NOT EATING THAT!!" I felt only a little foolish when she patiently explained that it was, in fact, the string used to tie up the chicken so it would roast better...or something. Honestly I stopped listening at the word string, so great was my relief. When I brought the bird home from Costco, fresh from the rotisserie counter, it was a beautiful thing. All steamy and roasted. It looked appetizing and delightful! I couldn't wait! However, I went to make a phone call, and when i returned there was half the chook, and the other half...CARCASS..which apparently is what is now bubbling harmlessly on my counter emitting those heavenly smells. They're seriously so good I can almost reconcile myself to the trauma on the counter last night...almost.
The weather is cold and gray (well, cold for LA at least) and this always makes me homesick. That combined with the fact that I've been fighting a major case of homesickness this week anyway. The heavenly, homey smell permeating my nano-sized apartment did nothing to help that. I had a flash back to when my mom would make this amazing lentil soup (there was no traumatic prep involved with lentils, at least, none that I saw) with hunks of carrots and other veggies in it and I'd eat it at the counter at lunchtime with a toasted onion bagel. Our kitchen was always kind of dark and on stormy days, that much darker. The combination of soup and onion bagels always seems to just fit a nice rainy day so perfectly. Especially if you, like we did, have a nice fire to curl up in front of. I'd usually have wet legs from tromping around outside before lunch, and would slurp up my soup and sit in front of the fire, hoping that my fingers looked cold, red, and swollen enough to stave off the inevitable violin and piano practice. Likewise my squishy yellow dog would endeavor to look like he had no plans of ever going to the bathroom again, and the orange cat would splay out in front of the fireplace looking supremely offended if you tried to move him to add wood to the fire. I loved days like that and when I walked out and the smell hit me this morning I was instantly transported back to that time. Not that it was an easier, or a simpler time. But the things that I keep close to me, that I still hold dear were all there. Home, family, pets..and of course toasted bagels.