My favorite food “genre” of all time is unquestionably soup. I could eat it any time of year at any time of day. Every single year, I look forward to the fall debut of vegetable soup with a grilled cheese at my favorite diner in town. In September, I trekked home just to have it again in peak soup season.
My favorite soup, however, is the potato soup my grandpa makes for lunch some Sundays. Just as I’m finished filling my bowl, my grandpa will spontaneously appear next to me with a clean spoon, so I set the bowl back down on the green counter. He then picks out the carrots from my near-empty bowl and throws them back in the soup cauldron. I think my record of potato soup bowls in one lunch might be five bowls. No matter how much anyone has eaten, my grandpa still makes rounds grumbling “eat like you like it.” I used to eat in the kitchen at the counter, then I moved to the piano room, then my cousins and I moved downstairs for a long time, and now we are back eating upstairs in the Florida room (they say it like flah-da). My cousin Marley usually comes late, and we have a potato soup tradition where she holds the bowl, and I use the spoon and cup to strain out the vegetables. My memoir will be titled Potato Soup for the Soul.
Our theme for the final cycle of the fall semester is food/cooking, but our writers/artists riffed on much more than just edible food. In her piece, “Recipe Refined,” Muntaqa Zaman revisits an old essay from high school detailing her “recipe for success,” updating it to fit who she is now. In “The ‘Lazy’ Generation Strikes Back,” Chloe Lyda defends my/our college-aged generation against false accusations that we are "lazy," making clear we're still working hard but with new post-pandemic mindsets. Chloe also serves up a spicy poem with “Aleatoric,” a meditation on trying again, even when the past warns you not to. In her gorgeous work of art, "Free Flowers," Katie Jane Villanueva shares a scene she actually encountered near Grounds, when a kind stranger offered flowers to anyone who wanted them.
In “decline,” Sadie Randall describes how her relationship with eating has changed since her Type-1 diabetes diagnosis. The way food can help us be "healthy" or not so healthy arises again in Juliana Callen's “How Romanticizing Our Meals Can Help,” focusing on the comfort and pleasure she derives from eating with those she loves.
Why we eat what we eat and with whom--it's all tangled up in culture and class, shows Mesina, who details the complicated history of SPAM in “The Mystery Behind the Meat.”
So curl up with a cup or bowl of something warm (with or without carrots), and enjoy this Iris feast. Thank you for joining us!