Friday, January 15, 2010

"Core Attachments" Regarding Soup

I just finished reading Up in the Air to prepare for watching the film adaptation that just hit theaters.  (Yes, I know that I'm a English Lit. geek through and through, and I have the student loans to prove it.) The book is good, but not great.  To me, it seems like Walter Kirn is trying much too hard to channel Chuck Palaniuck.  I'll probably still go see the movie because I did like the ever-so scathing criticism on the consumer-driven corporate world.  Plus, what's not to like about George Clooney?  While I think Kirn's best work to date is still Thumbsucker (which was also adapted for film), Up in the Air was still an enjoyable read. 

What really struck me about the novel, though, was this short passage:

"The lines we draw that make us who we are are potent by virtue of being non-negotiable, and even, at some level, indefensible.  Sally will not wear synthetics.  That's who she is.  Billy won't touch eggs.  That's Billy for you.  To apologize for your personal absolutes, for what Sandy Pinter calls your "Core Attachments," means apologizing for your very existence" (Kirn 39).

While picky eaters drive me nuts, they are perhaps those in the food world that have the most "Core Attachments."  Sometimes I have trouble understanding them.  My "What do you mean you don't like kale?  You just haven't had GOOD kale.  Let me cook you some." approach has failed to work on Kent.  I have lost the kale wars.

So, while it unnerves me to no end that he won't eat a vegetable I love, I do like the idea of having strong and potent virtues regarding what you eat and what you will not eat.  Even though these "Core Attachments" are indefensible, they are still to be respected.  No matter what I do to prepare kale, he will not like it.  No matter how closely the kale tastes to brussel sprouts (which, by the way, he loves), he will not like it.  Kent is attached to hating kale.  It's taken a long time, but I respect that.

When you start learning a lot about your food, like how it was raised/grown, where it came from, what conditions the laborers work under, what damage it does to the environment and to your body, the list of "Core Attachments," the list of things you absolutely will not eat can  grow rather quickly.  For instance, my friend AMR, won't eat fast food anymore.  After I saw this video clip on battery caged produced eggs, I resolved that I would never buy another factory-farmed egg.  Shortly after, I got the Girls, and now I have all the fresh, safe, and humanely-produced eggs I can use.

Sometimes, I have simpler core attachments that manage to infiltrate my life almost without my noticing.  For example, I realized that I have not bought a can of soup in 3 years.  I LOVE soup, and this amorous desire is based on the fact that I enjoy making homemade soups and stocks from scratch.  I can't go back to store-bought canned soup because for minimum effort, I can achieve a cheaper and higher quality soup than I can buy off the supermarket shelves.  There's only one drawback: homemade soup does take some time.  Not a lot, but none the less it takes more time than opening a can, except when you make miso soup.

This has been the first full week back in school, and I've been spending 12 hours or longer on campus at a stretch--which is great for productivity, but hell on home cooking.  So, this afternoon, I needed something warm, quick, and healthy to cook.  And, in a matter of minutes, I whipped up this soup.

Miso paste should be a staple in everyone's refrigerator because it has such a long shelf life and can add a salty-smoky-unami zing to all manner of soups, sauces, and spreads.  There are all several styles/flavors of miso, from mildest to most intense they are: white, yellow, red, and brown.  Feel free to use any miso paste for this soup. I'm partial though to the stronger red and brown varieties.

Better than Canned Miso Soup
(serves 1)

2 cups water
1 oz buckwheat soba noodles (they come with three bundles to a package, you'll want to use a scant half a bundle)
2 mushrooms, sliced (I used one cremini and one white button).
2 handfuls fresh spinach
2 t. red miso paste
1 green onion, sliced

Bring water to boil.  Add noodles and mushrooms and cook for about 4 minutes, or until noodles are soft.  Add spinach and cook for 30 seconds more.  Remove from heat.  Stir in miso until dissolved.  Ladle into bowl and sprinkle with green onion.

Miso Soup on Foodista
 Works Cited
Kirn, Walter. Up in the Air. New York: Random House, 2001.


Diane said...

Yum! I can't wait to try this. I love miso, and this seems so easy and fast.

AMR said...

Love this post, girl. I think it's interesting how our core attachments develop. And how seasonal they are. That we crave soup in the winter seems just as right as when we crave asparagus in the spring. If we trusted our bodies even more so, I think our core attachments would lead us to eat good, seasonal foods.

Anonymous said...

I love that quote too. I searched the internet and your blog is the only other place it's posted. Kudos!