I am all full of warm fuzzies from this past weekend. My husband and I attended our college reunion out in the soybean swamps of northern Ohio. Everything was perfect... okay, it wasn't, but the people who were there in this place where we share a common experience really hit the spot. Ohio is a total swamp. There are vastly more mosquitos than there are currently in Minnesota (I'm mighty allergic). It rained on the last pivotal evening in town. When it wasn't raining, it was 90 F with about 90% humidity. None of this mattered to us -- it really proved to me that it is the people who make my alma mater so special. We all made an attempt to put our finger on how to describe the course of the weekend, but nobody really could. We did, however, come to a consensus on why the sorts of folks that go/went there all fit in so well: It is the school where the each student was the weirdest kid at their high school. Keep in mind, the weirdest kid in Connecticut is different from the weirdest kid in Berkeley or the weirdest kid from rural Ohio. Nerds. Hippies. Hipsters. It's heaven. The only place that makes me want to stay up until 2 AM and then get up at 7 AM to do it all over again.
Now I suppose I should tie this in to food (otherwise it is just a rant, eh?). Well, in college, I began to cook. Timidly. What began with Easy Mac in a dorm graduated to pasta with veggies to chili to fancy chili to homemade granola. I learned to love spicy food. I was talking to one of my very close pals (while eating pie and swapping tips on making good crust) and she smiled (proudly?) while remarking that I was never a foodie in college. So very true. When my husband and I moved in, shells and cheese were a standard. And now, somehow, we can bake a serious pie. I cite peer pressure from my grad student pals who are all stellar cooks and bakers, and I was tired of just bringing the Black Box to cookouts and potlucks. But! Without that college town, my husband and I never would have the obsession, and now tradition, with Sunday morning pancakes. We used to go for long runs on Sundays in college and then folks would rendezvous over delicious cornmeal pancakes at the unassuming yet fantastic town brunch cafe. And I'm pretty sure attending my friends' special meals in the co-ops probably inspired me to be more adventurous in the kitchen.
Enough text. So we arrived home Monday night and by Tuesday morning it was apparent that either I have a really stupid cold or my allergies from childhood have resurrected themselves and want to be remembered in a bad way. Ugh. My throat hurt, and I was happy to make soup for dinner. This is a delicious one, and I made it word for word this time. Don't wuss out on the golden raisins -- it's a key addition. Other key features: toast the curry powder, butter not oil, patient simmering. Oh yeah, and some cold Woodchuck Summer cider. It is by far the tastiest cider I've had. We went to a snobby cider tasting and after a flight of different ciders, this one was the leader. It's so good, we bought a case of it. :)