For years, snow days used to mean days off from school.
Kids from the older generations would wake up in the morning waiting anxiously to see the name of their school appeared on the closure list at the bottom of the screen.
Now that I have become an adult, I approach snow days with the same excitement but for a different reason. Snow days are an opportunity to cook up a variety of soups that will create candle-type smells throughout the home and keep you warm on the inside during those cold evenings.
I call it Soupalooza.
The origins of Soupalooza date back to my time in Ardmore. The ladies at the Carter County Election Board would feel sorry for me and invite me to eat lunch with them. One of their lunchtime staples was taco soup. They convinced me it was something that I could recreate, and I was off and running.
When I would make taco soup, any of the ingredients that included “jalapeno” or said hot was going into the soup. Ranch beans with jalapeno, check. Pinto beans with jalapeno, check. Hot taco spice mixture, check. I must have gotten carried away. When my wife-to-be Bonne came into my life, she pointed out it might be too spicy.
I adjusted and unchecked some boxes, which I’m sure warmed her heart and showed her that I was boyfriend material.
Since that time, if someone even whispers about the possibility of snow, I am heading toward the internet to look up the latest soup recipes. To find the right soup, there are several keys that I lean on.
First, the picture must be appealing. Second, the soup has a better chance to be selected if a vegetable is not in the title. Actually, potato is acceptable, but stuff like broccoli is not.
When I was younger, mom used to make stew, which would have been fine with more meat and less carrots and other vegetables. It had an impact, as you will never see me cook a stew during Soupalooza or any other time of the year. One selection that has carried over from my youth is chili.
While chili it not considered a soup, it is acceptable because you can also eat it out of a bowl.
Plus, it has meat.
For this year’s first snow, I settled on three different soups. Zappa Toscana, Chicken Pozole Verde and Russian Mushroom and Potato Soup. The Russian Mushroom and Potato Soup may be a reach considering there is no meat and all vegetables. It did have a nice picture and you are never too late to be a renaissance man.
Monday night, we put some Buddy Holly and Santa Esmeralda on the record player and whipped up the Zappa Toscana, which had a nice little bite to it and was fairly simple to make. It met expectations, which is a good start for this year’s snow season.
Next up will be Chicken Pozole Verde, which I hope does not mean some kind of vegetable in Spanish. Hopefully, the weather will stay chilly for a day longer. While it does not have to snow to enjoy Soupalooza, it does create a certain type of ambience.
Told you it was never too late to become a renaissance man.
Michael Pineda is a staff writer for The Yukon Progress. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.