Milk soup. A simple concoction of comfort that I thought only my family made.
Jennifer mentioned it recently, bringing its simple wholesomeness back to me when she said that she knows someone else whose family makes it; rather like discovering a cabin nearby on the prairie, or that there is a bus stop is right outside your door. What? Someone else makes milk soup? Who are they? Where are they? We must talk!
Yia Yia, my paternal grandmother, made milk soup often, as did my own mother and my aunt. When we were feeling a little under-the-weather, there it would be, bowl swimming with comfort. In the winters of my childhood, after a brisk walk home from school, steamy bowls of milk soup were often our lunch.
I first made milk soup when I was in college. I often made it for our girls for lunch, sometimes for our family supper. A simple recipe of water, salt, and boiled noodles, with just enough milk for them to hide in. At some point, I stopped putting in a pat of butter, but it is really its best that way.
I’ve been thinking about making some all day. I needed its comfort.
This morning we congregated to say goodbye to a good and godly man. I served with David for 12 years on a local board of education. Initially my rival in an election for four seats, he became a mentor and trusted colleague. David was the chairman of the political science department at the local liberal arts college. Several of his former students spoke at his funeral, as did employees and professors from the college. A fraternity brother of more than half a century came in the blue jeans he was wearing to pay tribute to David; he had heard of his passing just 30 minutes before the service was to begin and rushed to be there. The minister said it was a time to celebrate a life well led, and it was. A brilliant scholar, David’s mind was robbed of all it held by Alzheimer’s, yet, the testimonials afforded on our wintry morning were of a kind soul, a family man, a true citizen of his community, with a moral compass that always pointed straight and true: clarion calls of the David we all remembered.
I thought of David, a man of character, as I drove home, yearning for a bowl of simple comfort with a pat of butter on top. How odd it is for me, at times, the things that come to mind when I’m sad or troubled, or just need to work things out, isn’t it?