” a perfect house, whether you like food or sleep, or story-telling or singing, or just sitting and thinking best, or a pleasant mixture of them all.’ Merely to be there was a cure for weariness, fear and sadness.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
Isn’t that just the purest definition of home? Perfect doesn’t mean perfectly decorated or perfectly grand or perfectly clean. It’s how a home makes you feel. And that feeling can alleviate so many hardships. With the baby soon approaching, I have been turning inwards and reflecting on how to make our house more of a home. Not in the superficial way but ensuring my children feel they can always come home to comfort, warmth, and coziness.
Some of the best memories of my childhood home were walking in the front door to a warmly lit kitchen with soup on the stovetop. Mom always cooked delicious comforting food. Even the aroma of split pea soup – the smokiness of the ham paired with onions, celery, carrot, brings me back to conversations around the dinner table and the feeling of being safe and secure.
I’m sure you have a signature dish that means home. I wonder what it will be for my children? Whatever it is, I hope they feel the comfort and know our home is an open forum for their feelings (all colors of feelings!) and their creativity.
I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving – whether it is very simple or elaborate- know that someone is grateful to have you in their life.
Split Pea Soup
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
1 tsp oregano
1-2 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups carrots, medium-diced
1 pound dried split green peas
1.5 pound ham hock
6 cups of water
Add oil to medium sauté pan and heat. Add onion, celery, oregano, and salt. Sauté for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for another 5 minutes. Meanwhile, place carrots, peas, ham hock, and water into slow cooker.
When onion/celery mixture is complete, add to slow cooker and stir to incorporate onions.
Cook on high for 6 hours, stirring every 2 hours. Taste midway through cooking to add more salt if need be. You may need to add more water near the end of cooking depending on how thick you like it. The soup shouldn’t be brothy.
Discard ham hock before serving. Garnish with sour cream and a curl of carrot.