by cindy winetroub rogers

She stared at me with the same resolve as when she vowed to sell the most Girl Scout cookies in Troop #309, and did. Crossed her arms, stood as resolute as when she’d said, I’m not eating meat. Not playing violin. Not going to High Holiday Services.

I looked at the carrots and butternut squash I was dicing into much smaller pieces than the roasting pan wanted.

She was, after all, just 21 — with degrees in English and Political Science, two thousand dollars in savings, and no job.

She crossed her arms, leant back against the counter. “The time is right. I am moving to New York in three weeks. I need you to support me in this.”

Believe me, I did. Want to. Support her.

But, tossing the vegetables in olive oil and Five Spice Powder then putting them in the oven to roast, I wondered, what if entry-level positions in advertising or market research or public relations no longer existed?  What if, come January or February, there was no more food in her cupboards, money in her bank account, or hustle in her DNA?

“I will make pots of soup that last a week,” she said.

The onions and garlic, fresh from the farmer’s market, stung my eyes. She, who on weekend mornings still said, “Make me eggs Mommy,” was going to make soup.

I let the aromatics saute in butter in a large stock pot until translucent, then added the roasted vegetables and broth and brought it all to a boil, then let it simmer, let it do its thing.

“I need to do this,” she said.

When she was five, on her first day of summer camp, I watched her wave through the window of the bus as it pulled away from the Jewish Community Center. Saw uncertainty in her eyes, fragility in her fingers, children on the way to Auschwitz.

“I need to find my life,” she said. “And it’s not here.”

I looked at the scars on my hands and wrists, wondered what scars she would amass, hoped most would fade, or strengthen her skin like Kevlar.

My daughter’s been working in the city almost a year now, though she’s yet to make soup. And that’s OK. We continue to grow, together but apart — she in her way, me in mine.

Welcome October, welcome to new adventures, welcome to my blog.


Based on recipe in the Williams-Sonoma cookbook, Soup of the Day

Roasted Five Spice Squash & Carrot Soup

Peel and cube butternut squash, and dice carrots. Size doesn’t really matter, as long as they’re all similar.

Toss in olive oil, salt and pepper,  and a healthy sprinkling of Five Spice Powder.

Roast in 350 oven until they start to get that caramelized goodness. (About 30 minutes.)

Saute a small onion and 3 cloves garlic in 2 tablespoons butter.

When translucent, add chicken broth (homemade if you have it),

the roasted vegetables, and a little more Five Spice Powder.

Bring to a boil, then cover loosely and simmer for 20 or so minutes.

For a little crunch, roast the butternut squash seeds and sprinkle on top.