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garlic soup with sage and poached egg

I’m giving you advance warning: this is going to be another one of those “life philosophy” posts that I secretly planned on indulging in when I started this blog. One of the things I love most about working outside with my hands (ok, physical labor) is that it gives me ample time to let my mind wander, and as a former English major random acts of thinking are what I do best.

Of course there is such a thing as too much thinking. The times I’ve let my mind ramble a bit too freely I’ve either A) composed elaborately worded letters to boys who clearly didn’t like me anymore or B) come up with plotlines for truly original works of fiction (boy meets girl who tells him she’s a ghost come back to fall in love, but wait—she’s actually just delusional! Unfortunately I actually wrote that). Thinking is an art—no one wants to do a mental tally of the month’s finances, but take thirteen of an imagined conversation isn’t a good place to end up either (although that time, you really nailed the withering comeback). Overly pragmatic or dramatic thoughts keep you going in circles—reflection gets you somewhere much more interesting. Farming is work that gives you space to reflect, and that’s something I’ve discovered I really like.

Leaving home for New York my freshman year in college wasn’t the easiest thing, but I came out the other end having learned something that changed the way I looked at life. The lesson? Find the small things that consistently make you happy, then make sure they’re part of your life each day. It doesn’t matter whether I’m in the middle of Oklahoma city or the rolling hills of Virginia—if I can go for a nice run in the morning and spend a couple hour in the kitchen cooking at night, I’ll be that much happier. Dramatically happier. I know it sounds simple, but it works. There are dozens of things that can change how you feel, but when I’m sad or lonely I just run, cook, and do crossword puzzles more.

And now I think I’ve found something to add to the list: work that gives you room to think. It’s something that farming and cooking share, and for me, space to think is space to write. Someone I believe understands this very well is the chef and writer David Tanis, whose new NYTimes column City Kitchen I stumbled across the other day after reading an interview on Eater. Smitten I decided to try one of his recipes, and this simple garlic soup caught my eye. As a meal it was perfect—just a few key ingredients that come together to make something flavorful and rewarding.

A little bit like life.

Garlic Soup with Sage and Poached Egg

From David Tanis’ City Kitchen

8 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

6 sage leaves, sliced into thin strips

3-4 cups water

salt and pepper

egg

toasted slice of good bread

In a medium saucepan, heat garlic and sage over medium-high heat for a minute or two. Add water before the garlic browns and simmer gently for 10 minutes to create a broth, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. When your 10 minutes is up crack an egg in the broth to poach for two minutes. Lay your slice of toasted bread in a shallow bowl and ladle the egg on top, and finish by pouring in the broth.

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