Sometimes life just boils down to a nice hot pot of soup. Very much like “Chicken Soup for the Soul”
When I was 17 years old, I was living in a apt in Beverly Hills, and had just taken the GED, and passed with flying colors! Still, I was living w/ a roomate, in my own apt., with no adult supervision, partying with alot of very hip, Hollywood Types, and now that I was free of High School, Beverly Hills High School, continuation class. A sub school, within the school, for dysfunctional, bad, or just plain dumb kids! I was the smartest kid in the class, which isn’t saying much, but living in Big Sur, and Hawaii, I had not been in school for years , and I didn’t quite fit in, which is putting it mildly. I was just one year away from turning 18, and I’d really be free, who knew what lay ahead for me, it was anyones guess. But that all came to a screeching halt, crashing down around me, when I, well, got into a little trouble. The trouble went away, thank’s to my sister Karen, who was now a young lawyer, Graduating at the top of her class, from UCLA Law School, and her husband Charles Rosin, being a up and coming writer.
The problem that arose was this, how had this girl, a mere child (so most people would assume) been living unsupervised, since she was 11 years old, how had this gone unnoticed? So, they were going to make me a ward of the court, or something to that effect,  unless my Mom, or Dad, would take me, which was pretty unlikely, as they had both remarried, and hadn’t been “around” for years, can you imagine living on your own for all those years, and then be just placed….wherever ,with whomever! I’m sure the people at Children and Family Services were appalled, jaws were dropping to the floor! So my Sister Karen and her husband Charles, stepped up to the plate and said “No Frickin’ Way, she’ll come live with us.” And me and my cat Sadie, moved into their small apt. on Beverly Glen, in W LA. No one had ever done anything so kind, or loving, or selfless, for me in my life. Words can’t describe, the way I felt. Well one word comes to mind. Loved. I had been flying under the radar for so long, I had never known anything else. But we adjusted, and well we had so much fun, and as stressful as it was for them, they took care of me like they had gotten pregnant, and well…had a teenager! It was 4 years into their marriage, they were not expecting this, and trust me I was a handful, but we dealt with it. What choice did we have, none.
I’ll never forget thinking, after being exposed to some actual, love, rules, and compromise, how happy I was, like for my 18th B-Day they took me to my favorite sushi bar, Asuka, where we still go to, to this day, mostly for sentimental reasons. I was finally being treated like a member of a family unit, they’re family, our family. Indescribable.
So they decided to buy a house, and buy they did, we moved in to a beautiful home on Barrows Dr., LA.,where, Karen having a great new job at a very reputable Law Firm, and Charles, with his very own back house as a office, (instead of the room where I slept, and when I got up would fold up the couch and turn back into his office) would spend his days writing, and me well , I sort of became the house wife, I over saw all the contractors, and people who had been hired, to make the house, a home, making changes, busting out walls, and doing what contractor’s do, hopefully, which is fixing things, changing things, and generally charging you insane amounts of money, which is their true forte.
So in the meantime I’ve always loved to cook, and had a really nice kitchen to work in, and so the real story began, I mean, Charles had to eat lunch, or at least a nice afternoon snack, when he wasn’t in meetings, and when Karen got home, from majorly grueling days, needed to eat as well, and I fell, very easily into this role. Starting to apply things I already knew, and creating things as I went along, but a favorite at the New and Improved Barrows Dr, where I had my very own room, (and bathroom), was just a simple pot of soup.
I called it Garlic Vegetable, as I cooked whole bulbs of Garlic, and broken pieces of corn on the cob, and all the veg’s chopped big, like a “old Timey” stew when it was finally done, I would serve it with Crusty French Bread, and before serving would remove the bulbs of garlic placing them on a separate  plate, and place in the middle of the table, and everybody could squeeze the sweet and nutty tasting cloves, right on to the bread with butter. This was long before anybody thought of roasted garlic, as a side dish. Always ahead of my time, but very much the same as I am now, just making really simple fare, tasting not just good, but extraordinary!

It was a great time, and we were a very loving family, as we are now, all these years later, it taught me that, it was nice to have guidance, and love, and it taught them to deal with a teenager, before ever having kids of their own! Lucky them, right? This is a true story as all of mine are, and one that changed my life forever, and for the better. Thank you, Karen and Charles, for giving me the love I needed. I cherish it to this day! And I always have.

Gather together the ingredients:

1 whole onion peeled cut into 2″ inch pieces,
Wash well but don’t peel
5 Carrots cut into 2″ inch pieces
5 ribs of celery cut into 2″ pieces
4-5 Red New Potatoes cut into Quarters, if they are big and small, leave the tiny ones whole, the cut 3 whole corn on the cob cut or broken into 2″ pieces

2 whole Bulbs Garlic
1 lg  or Quart can of Whole tomato’s
3 lg or 4 small Zuchinni cut into 2″ pieces
1/2 Cabbage cut up
And really whatever Vegi’s you have or like
1 tsp cumin
1 bay leaf
1 tsp thyme
4 cups Stock or Broth, or Boullion  cubes and water, I used Beef or Chicken, but this can be done Vegan

Salt and pepper to taste, remember, broth and stock, can be salty and so are canned tomato’s, So, taste, taste, taste. potatoes cook down and make the soup nice and thick

In a large soup pot Add:
Tomato’s and stock and spices, let come to a nice simmer, while you cut your Vegi’s
They go in this order:
Carrot, Onion, Garlic, Celery, Potato’s let simmer for a good 15-20 minutes
Corn on the cob, and lastly zucchini, a med simmer 30-40 minutes
About half way through, mash a couple of Tomatoes,with a potato masher or fork leaving some whole Remove garlic on to a plate.
Remove bay leaf and discard, and ladle into Big wide bowls, serve w/ grated Cheese of choice, butter,
whole garlic, and Crusty French Bread!
And as always, Enjoy!
© Jennifer Green Alger 2010