Soup Friday Makes Its Debut

I’m on the brink of announcing a new food night.

Last Friday I made vegetable soup and a great idea occurred to me: Soup Friday. I could make a different soup every Friday night for dinner.

Friday is the perfect day for soup. The kids are usually off doing something and we all eat at different times. Tim works late and usually wants to come home and eat dinner in front of the TV after we drink a couple bottlesImeanglasses of wine.

I hope Soup Friday has better success than my other designated food nights, namely Pizza Saturday and Leftover Monday.

Pizza Saturday was an idea I stole from my friend Karen. Every Saturday she would pick up pizza dough and a container of sauce from some pizza place that was apparently too lazy to make the pizzas for you, or their oven was broken. So they convinced working moms that it would be a cool new trend to buy the ingredients, not from a store, but at a higher price from this pizza place, and make the pizzas yourself in your own kitchen. Put on an apron and your kids just might think that you were actually cooking dinner. (This scam actually caught on. Of course it caught on. It’s still catching on. There are companies that charge you money to go into a kitchen and make lasagna and other casseroles yourself. You get to take them home and serve them to your family for about 300 percent more than if you bought the ingredients at the grocery store and made it by yourself in your own kitchen. I’ve had otherwise sensible women tell me they love this idea.)

So after I thoroughly made fun of it, I thought that maybe it wasn’t just such a bad idea. Having the same basic dish on the same night of the week was kinda cool. The Italians did it in my neighborhood when I was growing up. Monday at the Balestrino house was Steak and Spaghetti. The other days had other stuff and spaghetti, too, but I can’t remember them. I was too high on the fact that they all drank coffee. (I was, and continue to be, fascinated by Italians. If you’re reading this and you’re Italian, call me.)

So I started Pizza Saturdays. This was the same time I was going through a scratch phase. (That is, I made everything from “scratch” and some things were so gross my husband would “scratch” them from the list of things to make ever again. Whole Wheat Peanut Butter and Jelly Cake comes to mind.) I needed to make my own pizza crust and my own sauce. Once entrenched in Pizza Saturdays, it was taking me half the day Friday and all day Saturday to make the pizzas. They were good, so I had to make a bunch of them. I had dough rising all over the house, sauce simmering on the stove making a mess, and I was forever running out of yeast or green peppers and having to run into the store with sauce splatters on my shirt to get more. People were starting to think I was Italian.

Pizza Saturdays lasted a little more than a year.

Leftover Monday was shorter lived. I started it just after moving to Florida in June. Tuesdays have always been Grocery Shopping Day, and the day I clean out the refrigerator of all leftovers to make room for all the new food. Tired of throwing away perfectly good food that was between one and six days old, I decided that if Monday’s dinner was leftovers, it would be a natural way of cleaning out the refrigerator for Tuesday.

“I don’t like this,”my husband said on the second Monday, when he detected a pattern.

“What?” I acted all innocent. “We’re having leftovers. What’s the biggee?”

He was staring down at his plate of food, which was a piece of chicken alfredo, some chicken stir fry, lemon chicken and baked herbed chicken.

“This isn’t normal food,” he said. “It might have been normal in its original form, but you can’t just mix it all together and eat it for dinner.”

Watch me, I said. Not out loud of course. Out loud I said, “Stop complaining! There are people in this world who don’t have wives to heat up leftovers for them! You ought to be ashamed of yourself.”

But Leftover Mondays backfired on me, because it shined a big old refrigerator light on the fact that I was serving too much chicken. “Didn’t we just have this?” my husband would ask me at dinner. And I would deny it, banking on his bad memory and ADD-like lack of concentration.

“Look! A puppy!” I’d point out the window and dinner would continue on without incident.

But taking all those chicken dinners and serving them on the same night was evidence. I was busted. Leftover Monday died a sudden, violent death.

So let’s see how Soup Friday goes. I’ve got some really good recipes for some chowders, fresh tomato soup, French Onion, and my sister-in-law Sheree’s recipe for wedding soup, which actually could bring out the Italian in me again. And maybe I could sneak in some leftover chicken into some broth one Friday night.

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