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We're Making Soup

Extended family lived close together when I was a child.

Four houses on the same city block were my immediate home, but other family lived within several blocks at various points in time. Such as it was, there was always someone around--usually aunts and cousins of all ages.

After school, before I was old enough to venture off on my own with friends, I learned some of the basics of cooking each day.

I'd be sent to a corner store for last minute items or my Aunt Connie would take me with her to a market. In the city, sometimes you had to park a few blocks away from your house, so you had to carry your groceries past a few people. And we never just walked by anyone--whether we knew them or not. Strangers and friends were extended the same courtesy.

We said hello. And we told them what we were cooking or having for dinner...and we'd ask what they would be cooking or having for dinner. Time of day didn't matter.

It was our routine greeting.

Often, cooking lessons came with family stories...a bit of history...since one of my closest cousins turned 80 when I was just turning 12: Beppa. She was a great cook. She made everything by hand. I don't know that she ever ate anything processed or out a plastic wrapper.

The above comic could be a snap shot from any of hundreds of days of my adolescence.


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