Hello, Stranger, Have Some Soup!

Passover starts tonight, and the most important part of the celebration is called a Seder which means order. The order is prescribed in a little book called Haggada that we read at the table. The most important part of that is called Maggid which is the actual story of redemption and exodus from Egypt.  And the most important part of the story, repeated several times, is an admonition to share the holiday meal with a widow, an orphan, and a stranger because “you were strangers in a foreign land.” The same admonition is found in many other Biblical and Talmudic sources.

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As soon as a started understanding the words in the Haggada, I asked about this line. Even as a little four- or five-year old, I sensed a lapse of logic: as strangers in Egypt, we had been slaves, sorely mistreated; we finally escaped, and, as a reminder of that ordeal, we have to welcome strangers to our table? It hadn’t make sense until my grandmother gave me an explanation so profound that it has affected my entire life. “When you do something good for another person, – she said, – don’t expect them to reciprocate. But at some point in your life, that good deed, that bit of kindness will be returned to you when you need it the most. And if someone, G-d forbid, does you wrong, don’t ever take revenge and don’t worry – He is watching out for you and will pay them back.” For many centuries of exile, we have been persecuted in many places by many people, but because every Passover we make sure to welcome a stranger to our table, there have  always been kind souls who have extended the same kindness to us.  In a much earlier post, I extolled the gracious welcome enjoyed by Jews in Florence, Italy (please see Pollo Fritto Artistico). In gratitude to people of Florence, I am sharing a recipe for a traditional Tuscan Cannelini and Kale soup.

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In Renaissance Florence, this soup would’ve been enjoyed on Passover as it does not contain any leavened wheat products. The Rabbinical prohibition against legumes, rice, and corn was issued in Eastern Europe in 13th century because rice, beans, and corn were often stored in the same sacks that had previously held grain, and particles of that grain would obviously be leavened when cooked. Another reason had to do with grinding beans and corn into flour, possibly confusing those types of flour with wheat or rye.  Sephardic (Spanish) Jews, such as my Moroccan daughter-in-law, do not have to abide by this rule. However, as I come from Ashkenazi (Eastern European) tradition, I had to get rid of all the precooked beans in my freezer before Passover. Thus, I dumped some cannellini beans in boiling water and cooked them for a while until they became very soft.

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Next, I grated a carrot and roughly chopped a bunch of kale. I dumped both into the pot and brought it to boil again.

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Once I got it boiling, I added a heaping tablespoon of pareve soup powder, some salt and pepper, and lots of squeezed garlic. I stirred it, reduced to simmer, and simmered, and simmered, and simmered… The longer, the better, until the beans practically dissolve, and you get a thick creamy mass, but don’t forget to stir once in a while, as the beans tend to get sentimentally attached to the bottom of the pot. While it’s cooking, please listen to a classic Barbara Lewis’ rendition of…

As you enjoy this simple, yet hearty and very healthy soup, please don’t forget to share it with a stranger because when you need it, someone will offer a bowl of soup to you!

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INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups precooked cannellini (white navy) beans, or 1 cup dry
  • 2 cups loosely packed roughly shredded kale
  • 1 cup grated carrots (1 large carrot)
  • 3 – 4 garlic cloves, squeezed
  • 1 heaping tablespoon vegetable soup powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley to garnish

PROCEDURE

  • Boil beans in two quarts of water until extremely soft. Add kale and carrots, bring to boil.
  • Add the rest of ingredients, stir, reduce to simmer. Simmer for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Serve garnished with fresh parsley.

Happy Passover – Hag Pesach Kosher v’Sameach! Enjoy!

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65 Comments Add yours

  1. Happy Passover, blessings, love and light to you 😺
    As always, a wonderful post and I thoroughly enjoyed the history too 😺 xx

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you so much, dear Samantha, you are so sweet!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy Passover to you too. We eat this soup all the time. My mom was Italian and taught us how to make this soup with kale or cabbage, Amazing how two different religions can celebrate with the same soup. ☺☺☺

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Thank you so much! It’s not really a soup for a celebration, at least for us Eastern European Jews, but I love Italy, and I simply adore Florence and and everything Florentine.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on The Writers Desk and commented:
    A delicious soup for any celebration.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for reblogging, dear Patricia!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hugs right back to you!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Hello Dolly, I have tagged you (https://thetravellingdiaryofadippydottygirl.com/2017/04/10/friends-for-days/) but it is because I love your blog. So there’s no pressure to do it whatsoever x

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you so much, sweetheart! I will be happy to do it, but I hope you don’t mind that I will do it after Passover.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I do not mind it at all. You take your time and really it is not binding 🙂 Pesach Sameach x

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you, same to you!:)

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Lindsay says:

    Happy Passover to you and your family! ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much, dear Lindsay!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lindsay says:

        You are most welcome. Have a wonderful week further.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you, you have a wonderful week as well!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. spearfruit says:

    Thank you Dolly for this informative post. Happy Passover.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Terry! I hope you week is going well so far!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. calmkate says:

    Love your Grandma’s reflective answer, so deep and so right! Enjoy your celebrations

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, dear Kate!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. 15andmeowing says:

    Happy Passover! That looks great.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, dear! I am glad you like it!

      Like

  9. Eva@L.E.EBakers says:

    Yum! This looks really, really good!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Eva, I am glad you like it!

      Like

  10. Joëlle says:

    As Christians, we are often reminded, especially at Christmas time, that we should invite lonely people to our table. Your faith and mine are both about compassion and your grandmother had wise words to explain this way of life. She must have inspired a lot of people beside her granddaughter.
    Now I understand why legumes and corn became forbidden before Passover. My Azorean mother-in-law made a very similar soup, called “caldo” , except with potatoes instead of carrots. I learned to make it to please my husband’s tastebuds… as well as mine. Your post reminds me that I have beans and kale waiting in the freezer, so as I make soup this week I will be thinking of you.
    Happy Passover, Dolly!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, dear Joelle!
      I always say that my grandmother, with her equivalent of 4th grade education (the revolution put an end to the younger kids’ education in her family), was an original mental health counselor and educational psychologist in one package, not to mention that she was the greatest cook I’ve ever seen.
      It’s interesting that in South Florida caldo is considered a Hispanic soup, rather than Azorean / Portuguese, and it is usually chicken-based and doesn’t include beans. Carrots are my own addition. The Tuscan version, though, is quite versatile in that it could be made with any green leafy vegetables, not necessarily kale, but cannellini beans are a must.
      Enjoy your soup and please let me know how it comes out!
      Much love,
      D

      Liked by 1 person

  11. lilyandardbeg says:

    I devour your posts hungrily 🙂
    The recipe is definitely going to be added to my ‘try this’ list 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The advantage to devouring recipes is that there are no calories in it – devour away! I remember that you don’t like kale, so you can make this soup with any green leafy vegetables; the classic Tuscan recipe allows for that. Enjoy!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. lilyandardbeg says:

        Well, I’m not too keen on raw kale, but I like kale crisps 🙂 I think I like anything when it’s deep fried or covered in oil…
        Calories keep us alive 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      2. As someone who’s been fighting calories all my life, I can only turn kale-green with envy.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. lilyandardbeg says:

        Well, apart from my love of fat and whisky (in moderation) I don’t have that many vices…I try to keep a reasonably healthy diet but I think the love of fat is in my genes, at least half of my ancestors lived in a cold climate 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Oh, don’t rub it in, please! I am going on a very strict diet, starting today, after all the Passover goodies.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. lilyandardbeg says:

        Well, I don’t have curves. I can’t really just buy a dress, it always needs adjusting. I think health comes in all shapes -and being healthy is beautiful 🙂 Also, life is too short to deny yourself small pleasures- and food is definitely one of them 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I agree and I am still turning green with envy. Healthy is beautiful, but overweight is not healthy, especially at my age. Also, as you can surmise from my recipes, I don’t deny myself anything when I go on a diet. And I certainly never deny myself a glass of wine with my meal and a dessert drink afterwards.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. lilyandardbeg says:

        Well, to be honest a healthy diet is actually delicious – even a simple meal made fresh, from good quality ingredients is much better than fast food. I’m sure your dieting won’t be a torture and you’ll easily find a way to replace things that are less diet-friendly with something lighter and equally delicious 🙂
        But I really think I need fat-if I try to be good and reduce the amount of fat I consume I’m simply hungry and miserable. I eat loads of nuts-and even though they are full of fat at least they are good for my brain and muscles. And I will love myself even if I’m fat 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      8. My dieting is never a torture: I just had a HUGE spinach salad with raspberries and grilled tofu for dinner. Soaked raw almonds for dessert and a cup of homemade detox tea – all of it delicious. As long as you listen to your body and fuel it with healthy foods, you are fine. I don’t think you’ll ever be fat; you seem to have the kind of metabolism that burns fat as soon as it gets in. My issue is not appearance (never has been!), but a sort of a weak heart that doesn’t manage well with extra weight. And I like to keep active with yoga, swimming, working out, walking, dancing, etc.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. brianandlily says:

        I like spinach (mostly fried, though), tofu, raspberries and almonds…so it does sound rather delicious 🙂 I’m sure you’ll be healthy, happy and well fed (in the most positive way) 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      10. Thank you, I am trying to achieve that state. With your predilection for everything fried, you’d feel right at home in Memphis, Tennessee. They serve deep fried pickles.

        Like

  12. Soup is good for the soul, in my opinion. 🌟✨💫

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree, and it doesn’t have to be “chicken soup”!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Elizabeth says:

    Happy Passover! This brings back memories of my youngest son asking the four questions.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am glad my post elicited happy memories!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Elizabeth says:

        I have to laugh at my little Irish sons so excited about Passover!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I also meant to say Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Elizabeth says:

        LOL You’re welcome!

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Tbis is right for me…esp a delicious vluten free options. Thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much – I am glad you like it!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. lifelessons says:

    I had forgotten about that golden oldie. The song, not the soup, which looks delicious.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and for your kind comment, Judy!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. voulaah says:

    So yummy, I really wana have this soup tonight
    Thank you for sharing
    kisses

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, darling, I am glad you like it – enjoy!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. voulaah says:

        you are very welcome dear
        kisses

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Same to you!

      Like

    1. Thank you for reblogging!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. oldpoet56 says:

    As is usual with you my friend, one good story wrapped inside of another good story and that is even before one tries your recipes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Ted, you are so kind!

      Like

  18. oldpoet56 says:

    Oops, I forgot to tell you, I am going to reblog this article for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, and you don’t have to tell me: you have a carte blanche to reblog anything you wish!

      Like

    1. Thank you for reblogging, dear friend!

      Like

  19. Rustic Edibles says:

    Haven’t heard that one in a long time. And the soup looks great too.

    Liked by 1 person

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