I’m a bit of a soup addict. Whenever I’m stressed or feeling blue about something, I make soup. Whenever I’m happy, expecting a crowd for dinner, or am feeling especially homemakery (That’s a newly invented word! Like it? 😁), I make soup. Chopping and grating, bringing to a boil, simmering . . . tasting. The steamy aromas of mingled garlic, onion, ginger . . . Mmmm!
There’s something Zen about cooking in general, and about making soup from scratch, especially. And like my aunt says, even if you can’t cook, it’s hard not to make great soup, so long as you use quality ingredients. It will sound corny, but I think she’s right only to a point. Something of yourself has to go into the pot too—your love, your affection, your hope, your well wishes . . .
My newest obsession is homemade wonton. (And yes, I make a whole ton of the little wrapped delights, freeze them on cookie trays, then dump them into freezer bags, so I can pull them out by the handful whenever I want that particular delight—ready in just ten minutes!) This is a wonderful site I’ve been using for inspiration: https://omnivorescookbook.com/recipes/wonton-soup (But I fold my wontons like Nagi describes on her fabulous website: https://www.recipetineats.com/wonton-soup/)
Another favorite is salmon chowder. Whenever I make it, I impress even myself, LOL. I use this recipe from Allrecipes.com, then modify it (as is my style) ‘til the concoction in my pot could never be recreated using the recipe card sitting on my counter.
As I cook (and taste!), my mind wanders all over the place, but generally settles on whatever novel I’m currently working on. Most of my main characters, in pretty much every one of my stories, at some point or another, make soup—yet my books aren’t the type that get marketed to foodies, with recipes in the back (though I do love those). In fact, the scenes are very brief. I don’t know if readers would even consciously remember them, but they are, I think, symbolic.
Soup is the epitome of comfort food, belonging and home. Every culture has its own variations of the dish, and while soup can be whimsical, there’s nothing trendy or passé about throwing things in a pot to simmer and blend all together into something, always a bit different, always good. Soup, regardless of its name, is as old as the human race.
And what do each of my main characters, despite how different from one another they initially appear, all have in common when you first meet them? In some way or another, they all yearn for and crave—but somehow lack: Family. A sense of belonging. A home.
Food of all kinds (not just soup!) has weighty (pun intended!) positive and negative connotations for us as individuals and within our relationships—and it does for my characters, too. What they eat or don’t eat, and the way they eat—standing over the kitchen sink, or with wine and candles even when alone—says a lot about their personality, their desires, their family background, their financial situation, and so much more.
Even if you’re not a fellow soup addict, LOL, I hope you’ll enjoy the sensory details in my stories, but even more so, I hope you’ll find my books food for your soul. A celebration of the simple good things in life and the power of finding, at last, that place you fit, with people who love you for you.
Wishing you a lovely June, full of good eats and wonderful reads!
Ev Bishop lives and writes in a remote small town in wildly beautiful British Columbia, Canada—a place that inspires the setting for her cozy sweet romance series, RIVER’S SIGH B & B.
In addition to writing novels—her favorite form of storytelling!—Ev was a long-time columnist with the Terrace Standard and is a prolific scribbler of articles, essays, short stories and poems. To see her ever growing body of work, please visit her website.
When Ev’s nose isn’t in a book or her fingers aren’t on her keyboard, you’ll find her hanging out with her family and dogs, or playing outside with friends, usually at the lake or in some garden somewhere.