Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Mighty Mennonite-y


There's this beautiful covered bridge in West Montrose, Ontario that my hubby and I stumbled upon during our courtship sometime in the mid-90s. It was the fall, and we had just been shopping in the local tourist village of St. Jacobs (which is mainly a Mennonite community), and as we were wandering the area, we saw signs that led us to the breathtaking bridge, also appropriately known as the "Kissing Bridge".

Well the wind was icy-cold, and the ground was thick with fallen leaves at this little park on the other side of the bridge...and, I've always been good at improvising...so I ended up making a huge leaf pile and burrowing inside, and then my hubby burrowed in too and we were warm and snug and happy and it was SO romantic and picture-perfect until something was crawling up my pant leg and I jumped up screaming "GET IT OFF ME! GET IT OFF ME!" and that was the end of that passionate encounter.

Well this weekend we went back to the "Kissing Bridge" and we took the kids. As we walked the excited kids across, we heard the 'clip-clop, clip-clop' of hooves on wood. We stood aside as a Mennonite farmer and his buggy came though. The magnificent horses slowed at they passed us, and the farmer tipped his hat to us. My kids stared in wonder, while, two children wearing black old-order hats and clothing, stared out the buggy window back at us.

It was a moment when the world stood still. When we were transported back in time for a minute, given the gift of seeing life during a simpler time. Then we were redeposited safely back to where we belonged.

At the farmer's market I bought some dried, mixed beans and some smoked pork, and the lady gave me her recipe for Traditional Bean Soup! I was so thrilled to take home a taste of Mennonite Country, and couldn't WAIT to make this stuff. Well let me tell you...I spent all the damn day making this soup! I used to wonder what these people did without cars and electricity all day, but now I know!

THEY ARE MAKING SOUP!

Chopping endless piles of carrots, celery, onions, peppers, garlic, meat and tomatoes into tiny little pieces and letting various combinations of these things simmer for 4 friggin hours EACH (not to mention the stuff that needs to cool overnight that you have to cook the day BEFORE so you can skim off the fat and the beans that need to soak for 2 days!) I still stink like Traditional Bean Soup and that recipe made enough to feed an army and I had to do SOMETHING with this stuff so I filled up large containers of this steaming hot soup and delivered some to my parents, and some to my grandmother, and some to my mother-in-law, stopping for chats and company along the way.

It was only when I got home that I realized the point of the soup.

And it was good.

9 Comments:

At 10:01 PM , Blogger Kimberly said...

it kinda makes you wonder what's happened to us now that we've come so far that an email is as personal as we get sometimes.

I'm glad you enjoyed the soup.

 
At 4:19 AM , Blogger Motherkitty said...

What a wonderful story. That soup sounds like I want a bowl of it right now. Nothing like homemade soup on a chilly fall day. (When you make that much, you're supposed to invite a bunch of people over to enjoy it. I'm glad, however, that you thought to take it to those you loved.)

 
At 10:49 AM , Blogger Mildanka said...

*sigh* ... would you come over to my house for soup if I was making some right now? Because I am actually making some really great lentil soup today and wouldn't it be nice to sit around and visit! Well ... maybe one day ... for now I guess I will just have to send you some virtual soup :) Hugs!

 
At 10:55 AM , Blogger Mildanka said...

Oh yeah ... and could you send some cold weather our way, please!! I am dying over here with this never-ending heat!!

 
At 3:35 PM , Blogger Kimberly said...

I have to add, excellent colour pallet for the new season. Just pops out at you on screen. I love this time of year.

 
At 4:11 AM , Blogger jellyhead said...

I love the idea of soup for socialising....and what a perfect post!

 
At 8:57 PM , Blogger Abandoned in Pasadena said...

It's like the starter for cinnamon Amish bread...after you've baked your two loaves you're supposed to deliver three starters plus some nice fresh hot bread to three different people. It's like your soup...a socializing affair.

 
At 8:58 PM , Blogger Abandoned in Pasadena said...

Oh and I failed to mention that I love the covered kissing bridge and the leaf story...very cute.

 
At 10:59 PM , Blogger Alipurr said...

that's what happens when i make soup, i end up taking some to my friend, to my brother in law, etc.

the soups you made sound really good, though

 

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