Soup as Foundation for Community

Submitted by Christie Nash on February 5, 2015 - 10:43am

It was an icy, blustery day as I drove down the 401 from Peterborough to Caledon to meet Sylvia Cheuy at her home for our first face-to-face meeting.  As a new member to the Tamarack team in Deepening Community, I was looking forward to connecting with my Director for a planning session and chance to figure out how we can best work together remotely.

Sylvia and I had met during the interview process and had plenty of phone conversations, but there is something ineffable about meeting someone in person and really get a sense of who they are.  I was certainly a little nervous, but mostly excited about this opportunity.

When I arrived Sylvia had prepared coffee and treats for us as we checked in and got to know each other better.  We then put our heads down to work.  Colourful sticky notes on the wall, papers and documents spread out on the table, laptops open, ideas flying, details discussed.  By 1:30pm, we were famished! Sylvia said she was looking forward to sharing her favorite soup with me.

We talked about our families, our interests and shared opinions on a variety of subjects while we chopped vegetables for this famous Cod Stew.  I have to admit, I was a little skeptical of the ingredients and how they would taste when combined, but she assured me it was delicious.  I am not one to argue with a chef in her kitchen.

She did not disappoint.  The soup was divine!  I ate two bowls and could have eaten more, but I asked for the recipe instead.  She said she had shared it on a blog once before and I insisted that we share it again… so here it is!

As I read the first few pages of Paul Born’s book, Deepening Community: Finding Joy Together in Chaotic Times, I reflected on this time with Sylvia.  In this first passage he discusses how the act of bringing your neighbour soup is the single most important thing people can do to make a difference in this world.  While Sylvia and I had a very productive and successful planning session together, it was the experience of making and enjoying soup together that laid the foundation from which we will build our Deepening Community campaign together.

I invite you to watch this video inspired by Paul’s reading of his chicken soup passage.

soup and sharing

Thanks again Christie , that is awesome , and I just read your blog about the soup. I totally agree that the simple act of making something delicious is a great way to bond with someone. My own kids ( the last two ) as soon as they came to live with me soon discovered that if they dragged a dining room chair into the kitchen they could help make food. We would watch Food Network on TV and they would say "daddy can we" and off the the grocery store we would go , they would run up and down the aisles looking for the ingredients on the list. We would bring that home and spend the next few hours cooking and having fun. 

Both girls work in restaurants now , the older one is working towards her Red Seal Chef papers and the younger one is working her way through high school and wants to have her own dinner. But both girls will tell you that most of their best memories of home were in the kitchen , whether it was here or at their grandmothers :) They learned so much from that , I am still amazed and now they tell me frequently , Learned that from you Daddy , whether its budgeting , buying smart or food safe. Cleaning as you go and making food with a real passion, because love heals a great many things and its easy to put that into everything you cook when you enjoy it. Thanks for sharing your soup story :) It was as soup is , heart warming

Giving thanks

Thanks soo much for sharing this heartwarming story, Pete.

It's amazing how the little things we do with our children can have the biggest impact in their lives!