When the Beast and I lived in a tiny outport in Newfoundland one winter, we wanted to take advantage of our astonishing surroundings so we did a lot of sketching and painting en plein air. We drew rocks; we drew the beautiful coloured houses, we drew the ocean; and we drew rocks. When we tired of this, we turned to each other. One evening, with a fire roaring in the Franklin stove, I offered myself up, as Kate Winslet did for Leo in the movie Titanic, so the beast could draw me. Too shy to go full frontal, I positioned myself in a Degas-esque pose: I sat on the itchy carpet with my back facing the artiste, and my head turned ever-so-slightly, affording him a peek at my profile. I was certain the Beast would marvel at my feminine curves, maybe even compare them to a marble Greek statue. Then I saw the drawing: it looked more like the actual Titanic than Kate Winslet. Fuck was I mortified. At first I tried to blame the Beast, arguing that he’d gotten the details all wrong. He was a real gentleman about it—taking the blame entirely for the offensive life drawing. In retrospect, I suppose it’s possible that I’d packed on a few pounds in this idyllic outport where we ate as though we were preparing for the next ice age.
Anyway, it’s winter, and I’ve been feeling a bit rotund all over again. And the Beast has been feeling utterly terrible with some sort of cold/flu that doesn’t want to go away. So I’ve decided to make some minestrone soup. It’s capable of both comforting the meek and skinny and satisfying those of us who suffer from seasonal insulation syndrome (S.I.S.). I also want to do something nice for the Beast because I wasn’t particularly friendly last night. I thought he was being the boy who cried sick so I didn’t jump off the couch to fetch him the electric blanket when he asked me too. I wasn’t cold (sufferers of S.I.S rarely get cold), and the blanket was all the way down the hall in the dining room closet and Hell’s Kitchen was on. He got it himself and was quite grumpy afterwards and made many exaggerated (if you ask) shivering noises while he waited for the blanket to heat him up.
I’ll be at the restaurant working tonight, so I won’t be able to see how happy the Beast is when he gets home from work to find delicious homemade soup waiting for him. Or maybe he won’t be happy, for a couple of reasons really. First, there’s no meat in this minestrone. But I’m certain the Beast won’t miss it because I made sure my mirepoix of carrot, onion, leek, celery and garlic was good and browned before adding everything else, including Yukon Gold potatoes, zucchini, a can of Italian plum tomatoes, a bit of water, white kidney beans, a bay leaf, fresh parsley, and my secret ingredient when I don’t have a bit of prosciutto or pancetta on hand: a Parmigiano Reggiano rind. It imparts a real lovely flavour—and lots of salt—to any soup. Second, last time when he was sick and I made him soup from scratch, the Beast whined that I always had to “make” him something, and that I never just bought him canned soup, specifically Campbell’s Beef and Barley.
Sometimes when you’re sick, you don’t know what’s best for you. The Beast is not getting any fucking canned soup, I’ll tell you that much. He’ll eat this minestrone, and he’ll like it and he’ll be stronger, faster and smarter than before. Just you wait and see.
Beast to be determined…