It has come – that time in February when my body just won’t let my brain ignore it. As anyone with a chronic illness can attest, there are some times of the year that you go into bracing yourself, no matter the positive attitude you live by nor the years of knowledge you’ve accumulated to date. That time for me is now, when my body screams “hibernate!”
Lily and I backstage for FALL OF HEAVEN
Last year at this time I was in Cincinnati, Ohio working at the Cincinnati Playhouse on the premiere of Walter Mosely’s FALL OF HEAVEN, directed by the incomparable Marion McClinton and featuring a cast of some of the loveliest people I have had the privilege to work with. I did stage-crew for this show, meaning every night at about 10 minutes to curtain I threw on what we called “The Liza Minnelli Choir for the God of Smurfs” costume. Or some variation on that combination of ideas. The pants were puffy and brown, covered in glitter. Over that was a soft, sky-blue choir robe, hemmed above the knee, with bell sleeves and a darker blue hood, also covered in glitter. Very comfy and warm! My partner Lily and I would do one onstage costume-change with an actor, then spent the rest of the show moving set pieces, holding curtains during entrances / exits and sitting behind the scrim reading books and drinking tea, our blackberries on the table in front of us. I haven’t done crew for a show in years, but didn’t mind it one bit. In fact, I had a whole 25 minutes in the first act when I’d go to my dressing room and either nap under my dressing table or watch 90210 on my computer (the original, on DVD, courtesy of Lily).
Why relay these (somewhat shameful) tales? Because being part of this company gave me a whole new group of people to meet and adore. And to bake for. It was cold in Cincinnati, horribly cold. So only rarely would we go out after shows for a drink, as was the norm with other casts. I was only working on this show, whereas throughout the rest of the year I’d be memorizing lines for one show while rehearsing or performing in another. So I had my days free to huddle in bed, my space heater nearby, and, well, hibernate.
Along with black bean brownies and cinnamon pan bars, I made a lot of soup during this time. I needed to get nutrients without much food, because when I’m run down my body doesn’t seem to want to eat. So this soup recipe, now lovingly titled “On A Clear Day You Can See Forever Soup”, was the perfect answer to this need. It contains edamame for protein, peas for vitamins, a good veggie stock for all things that are good, and seaweed for nutrients. It’s both light and filling. And I utilized the amazing frozen vegetable and stock selection that my neighborhood Kroger was stellar in supplying, so there was no chopping or lengthy simmering. And this soup is simple enough that it can be sipped from a mug, backstage, with footlights blaring while you read Julia Child’s memoirs and an audience sits enthralled on the other side of a scrim.
Clear Day Soup
In a large, cast iron pot combine:
- 1 pint good, clear vegetable stock
- 2 cups filtered water
- 1 cup frozen edamame (shelled, obviously)
- 1 cup frozen green peas
- 2 Tbsp. wakame seaweed
- 2 tsp sea salt
Bring up to a boil, then turn to a simmer and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the edamame is soft. Season with black pepper to taste. I poured this over rice noodles for a heartier version.