Hugs or hurrahs, here is a bowl of heartwarming goodness to take you out of this year.
Several years ago, I was doing a team-building, storytelling workshop for the team at DC’s Cosmos Club. (Stay with me here. I promise you’ll get a direct tie in to New Year’s and a great bowl of tomato soup.) I asked the manager if there was anything he wanted me to focus on, if there were any stories he wanted his staff to work on.
“We just did a major renovation of our dining room and kitchen,” he said. “We need to get some business booked and see sales grow to justify the expense to our board.”
It was the fall of 2016, right after Trump won the election. DC was not doing a lot of celebrating. So, standing up in front of the entire management team, I asked them to pair off and share a story. “Food,” I said, “often brings us together in celebration. We get together for weddings and birthdays, promotions and launch parties. We eat to make sure our bellies are as full as our hearts.”
“But,” I said, “food also brings us together in commiseration. The sadness of loss, of losing a job, a major project bid, or a family member or friend. Food brings comfort to sooth pain and sadness.”
“So, I said, as you talk to your members about the new menu and dining room at this complex and not always positive time, encourage them to gather. Whether in celebration or commiseration it will be better if it is shared.”
This year has brought so many things to all of us. For some it has been a year of pain and isolation, for others a much needed respite from a pace that had gotten to hectic. We have seen businesses and business teams thrive as they have been forced to reinvent. Others have worked just as hard and innovated just as smartly but have found this year’s challenges insurmountable.
This New Year’s, whether you are reflecting on all the good you could never have imagined 12 month ago, or wishing 2020 good riddance, whether you need some hurrahs or some hugs, I hope, in a small way, this bright bowl of tomato soup hits the spot. Until we can gather together again, in celebration or commiseration.
Panang Curry Coconut Cream of Tomato Soup
This soup is so simple and comes together in under 20 minutes with almost no work: three cans to open and three ingredients to chop. Panang Curry adds wonderful complexity and just the right back-of-the-palate heat to this tomato soup, creating a fun new partner for your grilled cheese or pad Krapow.
- 2 tbs vegetable oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup Panang curry paste
- 1 13-15oz can of coconut cream or milk
- 2 28 oz cans San Marzano tomatoes
- 1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
- Warm oil in a 4 quart pot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until tender, 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and curry paste and sauté until fragrant, about 30 second to a minute longer. Add tomatoes and cook until tender, about 15 minutes longer. Purée with cilantro to serve.
TIP: Prefer a little less heat? Try a yellow Massaman curry paste instead.
Jonathan Bardzik is a storyteller, cook, and author who has added virtual cook-alongs to his live cooking shows and storytelling workshops for business teams, groups of friends and families. Jonathan’s second cookbook, Seasons to Taste: Farm-fresh Joy for Kitchen and Table is the inspiration for his new cooking show arriving on Prime Video this February.
Follow Jonathan’s cooking adventures on Instagram and Facebook @JonathanBardzik and find his books and more recipes at JonathanBardzik.com.