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On Sunday morning, I made broth. I put carrot tops and garlic cloves and an onion cut down the center into a pot. I filled it with water and added a bundle of thyme that’s been drying, strung up on a cord in the window, since last fall. Peppercorns, I plunked one by one through the surface of the water. I added a dried chili and two rinds of parmesan from the jar I keep full of them in the freezer. For an hour, maybe more, a gentle simmer coaxed flavor and nutrients out of the vegetables and herbs, turning water into something complex and rich and comforting.
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On Sunday afternoon, I added beans to the strained broth—a handful of dried cannellini left to soften in burbling broth. While the beans underwent their transformation, I sat on the couch, working in the golden afternoon sun that floods our apartment this time of year. Calder napped in a stroller on a walk with James. The big kids played outside with the neighbor.
On Sunday evening, with the beans plumped and creamy, I added carrots and cavatelli. Cavatelli, from the Italian verb cavare: to hollow. Little hollows. In the soup, the pasta bobbed to the surface. I dropped fistfuls of curly kale into the pot and watched it turn bright green as it took on the heat.
In bowls, I added a squeeze of lemon and a few grinds of pepper. A drizzle of olive oil on top was rich and golden. When we filled our spoons with soup, the cavatelli carried the broth and sometimes a bean—the little hollows are all filled up.
It’s a metaphor, isn’t it? This soup? These hollows filled with something warm and nourishing? This necessary act of care and sustenance? It’s a wish, isn’t it? A meal? Some comfort? The means to provide for ourselves and for others the things we need to survive?
In an awful week, reading the pieces below has helped me further my own understanding and processing of the current and historical conflict between Israel and Palestine. I understand that I do not carry with me personal experiences and histories that so many do in discussing and grappling with this conflict. I have been told this week to “stick to crafts.” I have received messages expressing deep disappointment and rage. I have been told that my support of a free Palestine reveals my own “simmering anti-semitism.” I fundamentally reject the notion that we cannot hold multiple truths at the same time, that we cannot think critically about power dynamics and systems of oppression, that we cannot condemn governments and war mongers without also villainizing people. In case it’s helpful, some of what I’ve been reading:
“The only solution, as it has always been, is to bring an end of apartheid, occupation, and siege, and promote a future based on justice and equality for all of us. It is not in spite of the horror that we have to change course — it is exactly because of it.”
”It is in both Netanyahu and Hamas’ interests for you to take extreme positions. The path to Palestinian freedom, and to peace and safety for everyone, requires seeing everyone’s humanity and rooting for everyone’s liberation. That’s the way out. That’s the only way through.”
“To point out Palestinian oppression is not, as so many commentators have alleged, to justify the unjustifiable killing of Israeli civilians by Hamas. It is simply another way of asking that we treat Palestinians with the empathy and decency that we ourselves long for, and to actually take the steps necessary to ensure the only real and lasting peace—the kind that will come with Palestinian freedom, justice, and equality.”
As a citizen of the United States, I see a role for myself in asking my own government to end its military and financial support of Israel’s attacks on Palestine.
I am asking for an immediate ceasefire.
I am seeking additional ways to take action.
I’m wishing every one some peace this week, a bowl of good soup, the shoulder of a dear friend.