Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Soupa Avgolemono. To Homer.

But such desire is in him
merely to see the hearthsmoke leaping upward
from his own island . . .
                         The Odyssey, trans. Robert Fitzgerald

Last night's adventure was a Greek chicken soup base, thickened with rice and egg.

I don't know much about Greece, mostly sun and sea and fiscal trouble.

I don't know much about its epic poetry.

Just that it's bring-people-to-their-knees-before-the-Parthenon poetry. Written by single-named, ageless philosophers with sculpted, curling hair and weathered faces.

People fall in love with the poetry of Homer, they still do it, you can read about it in the Writer's Almanac. Men do. "He was eight years old when he first fell in love with the works of Homer." Men still talk about the Sirens and the songs that will dash would-be lovers on the rocky shoals.

One man named Anthony Swofford read Homer in a Humvee, between sniper drills, and then he wrote the novel/memoir Jarhead. I'd like to read it.

I Googled "Homer" to see a picture of one of those imagined, sculpted profiles. Up came screens of Homer Simpson! Maybe Marge made him this soup.

If I Google "Odyssey" I might get the Honda van. I'm choosing to live in ignorance for now.

Another man and I sat down to this soup. Soupa avgolemeno is golden, steaming, soft with rice, pretty with a sprig of parsley. Eggs cooked just enough to make tiny contrails, or, if you look with a poet's eyes, hearthsmoke. The surprise of lemon, tangy enough to raise your eyebrows. Nice on a wintry weeknight.

he could get used to this . . . actual dinners at the table
White stucco houses, bright blue windowframes, sun glitter on the Aegean Sea. A thousand ships launched, to bring Helen back from Troy. I'll make this again.

Soupa Avgolemeno (Egg and Lemon Soup)

46 ounces chicken broth (almost 1 1/2 cartons)
1/3 cup uncooked white rice
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
3 Tbsp. lemon juice*
2 Tbsp snipped parsley, chives, or mint

Heat broth, rice, and salt to boiling in a 3-quart saucepan, stirring once or twice. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer until rice is tender, about 14 minutes.

Mix eggs and lemon juice. Stir 1/4 cup of the hot broth mixture into egg mixture; stir this into broth. Cook and stir over low heat until slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Do not boil or the eggs will curdle. Garnish each serving with parsley.

Serves 6.

*next time, I'll reduce the lemon. It was pretty strong!

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