I don’t like soup but this one is good

There, I said it.  Yes, I really, truly dislike soup.  Liquidy, sloppy, loose, bits of things floating in herby-flavored fluid…Booooring.  So, whenever my mother decided to offer the family a ‘healthier’ alternative to pasta (rarely, thank pictureGod), she would present us with a pot full of soup.  The rebellion was intense.  Nearly a mutiny.  The three of us hated soup lunches and wouldn’t partake of it without extensive complaints.  How could you? How disappointing…Cabbage, beans, potatoes, whatever it was made of, it was never accepted.  The worst one was the dreaded minestrone.  I know, I know, Americans consider this a delicious, almost gourmet, highly desirable soup, but Italian kids despise it.  We knew we were going to have to suffer through that abominable concoction when my mother declared (triumphant!) that she had found il mazzetto, a neatly tied together bundle of all the essential fresh minestrone veggies and herbs.  Oh, how we prayed (no, really prayed) that the store would be out of mazzetti…Another despicable soup was pasta e ceci, made with chick peas, whose taste (at the time) induced me to instantly retch;  these days, I actually like them, albeit in only specific forms, like delectable falafel.  Now, chicken soup with pastina was in a whole other dimension: sacred.  My mother’s delicious chicken soup, rich but refreshing, bursting with teeny tiny pastina and liberally dusted with parmigiano never failed to produce the miracle of healing sick children, especially if served in bed with a generous helping of extra attention and a tall glass of freshly-squeezed (and abundantly sugared) orange juice.  Oh, those good old sick days…Anyway, here I am, today, making one soup that I actually like (and did even in my Italian years), thick Lentil Soup with ditalini and lots of parmigiano.  A dreary, misty, wet day, just the environment needed for lentil soup.  Simply made with a pound of lentils, onion, parsley, carrots, it quickly produces the warming meal you need, served in a beautiful rimmed bowl, generously sprinkled with fine parmigiano.  I used ditalini today, which is my favorite small (but not too small) pasta, but use whatever you like, as long as it’s on the petite side.  So, if it must be a soup day, let it be lentil!

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