Tortilla Soup


There is a book I love that I have never read. 
It is called What It Is.
I love it for the title.
What It Is


Right now-- all this-- it’s just what it is.

My mother tells me I need to be more patient, and I guess that’s how you get through the days when the blues and the mean reds come-- by clinging to the belief that tomorrow will be better.
And frequently tomorrow is better. 
It’s almost always better. 
But frankly, I feel like I’ve got this stack of tomorrow promises that I waste a lot of time thinking about, when really, I simply need to be present for right now, for whatever this what it is happens to be. 

But on those days, when the blues arrive, and the mean reds threaten to swallow and swamp me in memories of the past or promises of the future-- I go to Central Market, my favorite grocery store. 
I go to Central Market, and I take one of the plastic salad dressing containers from the salad bar and I use it as a cup to sample all the soups at the soup bar. 
I always try the tortilla soup. 
It is my favorite. 
And somehow, even though soup sampling with salad dressing cups in undoubtably pathetic, somehow, this also cheers me up. 
Because like kittens and grass and trees and hot cups of coffee-- soup just is. It’s just what it is. And thinking about what it is scares the blues and the mean reds away. 


And sometimes that’s all that can be done. 
So I finally made some tortilla soup for myself this past week, because I got tired of driving to Central Market. 
And the flavor of something so simple and so good. 
I don’t know. 
It reminded me that no matter how unsettled things might feel-- everything is just what it is. 
And that is more than enough. 

love, 

m


Chicken Tortilla Soup
via allrecipes.com 

1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed chicken broth
1 1/4 cups water
1 cup whole corn kernels, cooked
1 cup white hominy
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile pepper
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained 
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 boneless chicken breast halves, cooked and cut into bite sized pieces
crushed tortilla chips
sliced avocado
shredded Monterey Jack cheese

- In a medium stock pot, heat oil over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic in oil until soft. Stir in chili powder, oregano, tomatoes, broth and water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. 
-Stir in corn, hominy, chiles, beans, cilantro and chicken. Simmer for 10 minutes. 
-Ladle soup into individual serving bowls, and top with crushed tortilla chips, avocado slices, and cheese.