How many phone numbers, excluding your own, do you know by heart?
That’s the last phone number I committed to memory. It’s also the first phone number I committed to memory. It was my parents’ home line. Was, being the keyword. One year ago, they moved to a new state, and the phone number, along with many household items, lingered in Pennsylvania. With that move, I lost the last phone number in my memory. I lost 10 digits whose comfort I hadn’t fully appreciated until they were gone.
It’s the number I nerdily imagined giving to a boy via my TI-83 geek calculator in high school calculus class (it never happened-shocker!). When people called that number, I responded with all the polite, proper grammar my dad had instructed me to use, “Hello, Kogels’.” “Yes, this is she.” “No, she is not. May I take a message?” It’s the number I dialed every Sunday in college to give my updates, bemoan my stresses and say “I miss you, and I love you.” Those 10 digits may not lead to my mom or dad’s voices anymore, but they remain the numbers I know by heart.
That expression- to know by heart– may sound bizarre to someone learning English. How does the heart store information? Yet, it’s exactly how I store that random string of 10 digits. More than a space in my mind and memory, they’re numbers that mean something. They linger with me through comfort and nostalgia, like the steam that condenses on kitchen windows while soup simmers, or the way holiday cookies sprawl over a long, dining-room table.
This Creamy Potato Cabbage Soup may not be the passed-down sort of recipe, but a bowl of this warm, flavorful soup has the power to comfort and conjure nostalgia nonetheless. Whether the digits change, or the recipes change, these are still the numbers and experiences we know by heart.
Creamy Potato Cabbage Soup
About This Recipe: Choose a purple cabbage to give a faint violet hue to this soup. The recipe includes a few resourceful suggestions to waste less. Use the stalk of broccoli, not just the florets. If you have whole milk that has soured, use it in this soup. Alternately, you can use fresh whole milk or buttermilk for tang. For the creamy consistence, you’ll need an immersion blender, a food processor or a regular blender.
Creamy Potato Cabbage Soup
6 -8 medium local, organic red potatoes, cubed
1/2 of a small local, organic cabbage, chopped
1 head local organic broccoli, chopped (including most of the stalk)
1/4 cup local organic butter
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
3 cups whole milk (I used a soured milk. Buttermilk works well too)
3 cups organic heavy cream
1 teaspoon smoked sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2-3 Tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
2-3 Tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
smoked salt & pepper
Add the potatoes to a large pot of water. Bring to a boil. As the potatoes soften, add the cabbage and broccoli. Continue to boil until the potatoes are mashable. Remove from heat, and drain the water. Set aside.
In separate pan, melt butter, add flour and cook while stirring for about a minute or so.
Add the milk and stir until lumps are out of flour mixture.
Add the heavy cream, and on med-high heat, bring to a boil, stirring almost constantly or it will scorch.
After boiling, turn heat off, and add remaining ingredients, stirring to combine.
Pour the cream mixture into the potato mixture. Use an immersion blender or a regular blender to blend until desired consistency.
Serve hot with more a sprinkling of smoked salt, fresh black pepper and extra sage.
This Post Has 5 Comments
I still remember the home phone numbers of my elementary school best friends, with whom I no longer keep in touch and who no longer live at home. But like you said, there are so many memories contained within those ten digits, and a definite bittersweet nostalgia. Thank you for your beautiful words.
Thank YOU for the kind words! You just reminded me that I have another number in my head- my childhood best friend. 🙂
The local library of which I am a member, use the last four digits of my childhood phone number as the pin for my account. I still smile as I type in those four digits.
That’s excellent! I’ve also heard the idea of using encouraging words or mantras for online passwords- lots of little ways to add some joy to our digital age. 🙂