Friday, May 19, 2006

About the Soup Salon

You may have occasionally read one or another Israel-based blogger mention that they were coming over to my house on a Friday afternoon for some soup. That's because I make a batch of soup every week, usually on Thursday, and serve it up to whoever drops by on Friday afternoon. Sometimes there are just four of us, sometimes ten or more. Once (so far) we played Scrabble in Hebrew.

I really enjoy hosting this weekly meet-up for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that it motivates me to straighten up for "company" at least once a week. Living alone and enjoying it so much, I'm tempted to let things slide and not care about tidiness, but when I have guests, I like to at least make my bed!

But I also enjoy it because it gives me a taste of what it might be like to have my own family living here. The strong local tradition of Friday night family meals is observed by religious and secular alike...in secular families, the younger members often go out to parties, discos, or movies after dining chez mom and pop. The whole routine is feasible thanks to Israel's size: even people who live in a different city from their parents are probably close enough to pop over for a weekend meal without having to stay overnight. So I get a little of the rhythm of family life, even without the family.

Most of my guests do not have much immediate family in Israel. If they did, they'd be busy either preparing or preparing to attend their family dinners, so Friday afternoon is the perfect time for us "loners."

And conversation is fun! Even when we have Hebrew-speakers and have to expose our impoverished vocabularies and feeble grammar skills.

Today's salon was a special treat for me: a four-year-old child attended. With his mother. At least his grandmother lives abroad, ha ha!

9 comments:

Chancy said...

This seems like a fine tradition for you to start. Do you make the same soup each week or do you vary.

For some reason as I read your post I thought of the old fable "Stone Soup" where everyone brought ingredients to go in the "Stone Soup.

"According to the story, some travellers come to a village, carrying nothing more than an empty pot. Upon their arrival the villagers are unwilling to share any of their food stores with the hungry travellers. The travellers fill the pot with water, drop a large stone in it, and place it over a fire in the village square. One of the villagers becomes curious and asks what they are doing. The travellers answer that they are making "stone soup", which tastes wonderful, although it still needs a little bit of garnish to improve the flavor, which they are missing. The villager doesn't mind parting with just a little bit to help them out, so it gets added to the soup. Another villager walks by, inquiring about the pot, and the travellers again mention their stone soup which hasn't reached its full potential yet. The villager hands them a little bit of seasoning to help them out. More and more villagers walk by, all adding another ingredient. Finally, a delicious and nourishing pot of soup is enjoyed by all."

Yael K said...

Chancy she varies and the soups are invariably delicious! Yesterday it was a cold cucumber cream something or other that I would ordinarily have gone YEEECCH at the sight of it anywhere else but ate two bowls of it because if Savta Dotty made it its gonna be good --and it was!

I think us loners look at it a lot like the family shabbat dinner too. Not having family here and seeing all your Israeli friends off to their families on Friday afternoons can be a very lonely experience --but not for those who attend the soup salon because on Fridays we get to say, ahh the 'family' obligation is upon us and we have to go see the fantastic woman who has taken us under her wing, who feeds us like any good Savta would, and provides us with fantastic company, conversation and good cheer. I look forward to it every week!

noorster said...

I get a mild bout of depression every time I miss Friday Soup.
Also, what Yael said.

Savtadotty said...

Chancy - You're right about the "stone soup" fable...the people make it Real Soup.

Yael, Noorster - We must talk about a plan I have to continue the tradition even during my summer absence!

As a geeky savta, I also get a kick out of the fact that this live "family of loners" formed via blogs.

goldenlucyd said...

Our trip was postponed and I don't have wo experience blog-withdrawal. At least for the moment!
I loved the soup salon story. We have kind of the same thing here. Carole has made matzah ball soup every Friday for over 30 years. In the evening we light candles and anybody who wants to stays for soup and challah.
I think that kind of tradition is so beautiful and such a gift for anybody who can share it. We are all very lucky!
Have a wonderful week, Savta!
lucyd

Udge said...

Oh, how lovely. Bonus karma points for you!

"Stone soup" was my favourite story when I was a kid.

Savtadotty said...

goldenlucy - yes, we are lucky! I'm so glad your family has that tradition. It's cozy.

udge - where I come from, we call them mitva points, but I believe the result is the same :-)

Maria said...

It is a fine tradition and although not connected really, I belong to a widow's group that meets every Saturday morning for coffee. Saturday morning was chosen because the long week-end is always lonely for those without their spouses and supporting each other early on in the day seemed to help.

John said...

It's a good think that I like soup, talking, laughing, and generally having a good time! Yeah for the Soup Salon!

PS: The word verification for this comment is zzszy! That cracks me up for some reason!