The Comforting Smell of Simmering

 Dale is amazing when it comes to creating something good out of what he has on hand. But, as you probably noticed, he keeps some intriguing foods in his refrigerator. Of the vegetable list in his recipe, I might have a leek, and every once in a while celery root (celeriac). But usually when I stir up soups, I use a recipe that requires a couple of new purchases. Who keeps turnips and parsnips? Write me if you do. I’d love to know some other ways to use them.

Now we turn to the very pleasant task of: making Dale’s Winter Soup.


Dale’s World:

Winter Vegetable Soup

The wind was whistling through the pine trees; I could hear it from inside. Perfect weather for soup, I thought. Rummaging around in my refrigerator I came up with what looked like possibilities: a leek, two parsnips, an oversized turnip that was slightly withered, but still good, carrots, a potato, celeriac and crisp green celery.  I decided not to use the leek and potato. That was too much like a leek and potato soup. Using both the leek and onion would be redundant, so I saved the leek for another day. To give the soup a little more substance I decided to use some canned white beans. Just the thought of what it might taste like had me drooling already.

You will need:


1 parsnip                                  1 rib of celery

1 turnip                                     1 carrot

½ cup of diced celery root      Water

Salt and white pepper             1 cup of cooked white beans

Olive oil                                    Parsley for garnish

For another recipes in Archives using Celeriac (Celery Root):

A Vegetable Dish that Inspires

A Vegetable Dish That Inspires

Celery Root




Preparation for Winter Soup: 

1. Peel and dice the carrot, parsnip and turnip.

2. Cut off a hunk of the celery root (You won’t need the whole thing.) then peel and dice it too.

3. Dice the rib of celery.

4. Tear off a few sprigs of the parsley for the garnish.



 1.    Pour a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in the soup pot and sauté the carrots, celery and onions until the onions begin to turn translucent.

2.    Add the diced parsnip, turnip and celery root and sauté for another minute.

3.    Add the cup of beans. The first time I did this recipe I used black beans. It tasted great, but I didn’t care much for the color. The white beans look really good.

4.    Add two to three cups of water or however much water is needed to give you the ratio of liquid to vegetables that you prefer. The amount is completely subjective.

5.    Bring the ingredients to a simmer, then put a lid on the pot, and let it simmer for another 30 minutes.

6.    Because of the rich blend of aromatic vegetables, the soup needs no seasoning other than a little salt and ground white pepper.

7.    It is amazing how good something this natural, healthy and simple can taste.







Food for Thought:

Comforting Smells and Simmering Thoughts

What can be more comforting than the smell of soup simmering on the stove all through the gray hours of a deep winter day? The fragrance tickles your nose and stirs your heart in anticipation even in the midst of quotidian chores.

Simmering can be an appetite stimulator. The other day I simmered a garden soup for several hours in my red soup pot. The seasonings were thyme, marjoram and bay leaves, and when 6:00 arrived and I asked my husband if he was ready for dinner, he answered with a huge: “Yes, Am I!”

“Smell” can be an odor or a scent or it can be used metaphorically:

“The lorry drivers brought in a smell of  sweat and petrol.” [I. Fleming]

“Like all really good crooks, although he couldn’t see it, he smelt the trap.” [I. Fleming]

Just as smell can be used in different ways, so the word “simmer” could refer, not only to “keeping in a bubbling condition just below the boiling point,” but also to being  “on the verge of developing.” For example, “The fight had been simmering for years.” [M. Richler]

Be careful what you let simmer in your mind and on your stove. Simmer healthy food, tasty food, food to which you’ve given thought to in order to please and serve your family best. Learn to use herbs and spices to spruce up the simplest dish, like they do in the Orient:  “We can. . .smell the warm fragrance of Taiwanese spices flowing from the kitchen.” [Japan Times]

Mind simmering could be equated with that creative necessity, incubation. A writer, an artist, anyone working on a creative project needs time to think over their initial idea. But they also need to incubate it, give themselves time away from it. Solutions will often present themselves the moment you wake up from a good night’s sleep.

Sometimes we find ourselves dealing with obsessive thoughts. We might be toying with a sin, or idolizing a person above God. Or we could be harboring a resentment. “Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble.”

What’s simmering in your mind these days: “bubble, bubble, toil and trouble,” a slight, a grudge, a spark of an idea that refuses to go away, an obsession that overwhelms you, a possible calling from God?

For simmering anger, apply the antidote of forgiveness and silent prayer.

For a recurrent idea, seek God’s guidance. Is it from Him? What shall you do about it?

For comfortable thoughts to simmer in your mind, try thanksgiving and praise.

For a simmering pot of Winter Soup, dig in when the flavors have had time to blend and the air is redolent with the scent.

And be comforted.

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