This dish is a bridge. A link between sweet, crisp corn in searing summer and the call of soups and cozier fall dishes. A reminder of the commonalities that link us. A connecting point between past and future.
It comes from The Healthy Kitchen, by Dr. Andrew Weil and Rosie Daley, a book my father bought when I was a teenager. Mummy and I chuckled at Dr. Weil, who sports his trademark giant fuzzy white beard with goodnatured charm. We find fuzzy white beards funny. Judge if you must.
I forgot about The Healthy Kitchen until this summer, when my father died. Back at home, I would step into his office, sometimes looking for paperwork, more often just to feel close to him, to fool myself that he was still there. I never thought of Daddy and I having many traits in common, but, standing in his office, every possible wall heavy with a bookshelf, each one laden with texts, I saw a bridge.
My apartment is crammed with aromatherapy and reflexology manuals, university remnants, and novels galore. Daddy’s office holds countless Bible reference books and Christian publications that reflect his years as a minister. Amongst his concordances and books on prophecy and counseling, I saw the old friend: The Healthy Kitchen. It made me smile.
And it reminded me of my fella, a huge Dr. Weil fan. I bit back sadness that my father and my fella won’t have a chance to trade thoughts on the virtue Dr. Weil while my mother and I giggle at the beard. I tucked the book into my suitcase, feeling guilt for not having asked Daddy to borrow it.
The Healthy Kitchen resides on our shelves now, amongst herbal remedy texts and yoga instruction manuals, a connection point between the two most prominent men I’ll have in my life, a reminder of these links, between father and daughter, between father and fella, between then and now.
Tomato, Corn, & Basil Soup
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 T extra virgin olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
28 oz tomatoes
1 cup purified water
3 cups fresh corn kernels cut off cob, or 1 lb frozen sweet corn
Freshly ground salt and black pepper, to taste
1 cup finely chopped fresh basil
Saute onions in olive oil over medium-high heat, until they just begin to brown.
Add garlic and saute for a minute, stirring constantly.
Pour in tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until they give up their juice. Cover and continue cooking about 5 minutes more.
Add water and corn, and cook until corn is soft and kernels lose their raw taste, about 5 minutes.
Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
Stir in basil, mix well, remove from heat and serve immediately.