I learned to play a bit with a recipe and my creativity. I learned that I have a strong tendency to change recipes.
But what else can be learned from cooking a soup? First, I learned to be flexible. After reading the recipe in ‘1000 vegetarian recipes’, I was not sure I had all the ingredients. I did not know what a vegetable bouillon was. I know it sounds silly, but the word ‘bouillon’ was not in my vocabulary. I had a word ‘cubitos’—Spanish for ‘ little cubes’. My recipe called for a cup of milk, but oh wait…I didn’t drink milk then. Would almond milk work? It had to, because my mind was already set up for that soup and I was not going to go out to the grocery store. This reminded me that flexibility and resourcefulness are keyingredients for an enjoyable cooking experience.
You may wonder why I did not have all the ingredients for that recipe. The short answer is that I did not have the recipe when I was at the grocery store. I bought the squash because there were many at the market, and they looked great. And also because I had been thinking of cooking peanut butter-pumpkin soup or squash soup for a while. I have two good friends who make excellent squash soups so I have those memories in my bank of good experiences.
I started by imagining my end product. It puts me in the mood of cooking! I portrayed a smooth, delicious and beautiful soup, already served in a nice plate. I can even smell it, and feel it. The idea made me happy. Why is that?
As you may know, food has a strong connection to memories and feelings. It is no different for me. This yellow silky soup has always been a messenger of the gods for me. Pumpkin soup will always remind me of home. Back home, I called it ‘sopa de zapallo’ or ‘sopa de ullama.’ I grew up having a traditional dish, called ‘guisao’, which I won’t describe here in details, but it was a dish served only on Good Fridays. Guisao is made of small pieces of pumpkin, cassava, fresh spices and fish. That dish, in itself, represents an encounter of cultures indigenous Mesoamericans and Spaniards.