Hello, Stranger, Have Some Soup!

Passover starts soon, 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 I 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!

74 Comments Add yours

  1. GP Cox says:

    Have a joyous Passover, Dolly, and to all those you love.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, GP, for your kind wishes!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Patricia!

      Like

  2. David Yochim says:

    The recipe looks delicious, and thank you for the lessons in the opening. I was raised a Christian, but my roots on my fathers side are Jewish until my family left the area of Bavaria in Germany at the turn of the century. I have had an interest in checking out the Messianic Jewish faith, but there is no where close to where I live to do so.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear David, I thank you for your kind comment. As to your interest in Messianic movement, may I suggest a different approach, outlined by a brilliant writer Tzvi Freeman in his answer to someone who was considering conversion: https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/857823/jewish/Should-I-Convert-to-Judaism.htm
      Freeman also provides a link to Seven Laws of Noach. Perhaps they would be of interest to you.
      I wish you the best of luck in your search!

      Like

  3. Have a good Passover.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Jeanne!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are very welcome.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. spearfruit says:

    Your soup looks great Dolly! Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your comment, Gary!

      Like

  5. ren says:

    I love your grandmother!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, dear Ren! With her equivalent of 4th grade education, interrupted by the revolution, she was the wisest, and certainly the kindest, person I’ve ever met.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ren says:

        Can a wise person be unkind? I think not. Otherwise, they w/could not be wise.

        You are a reflection of your grandmother and more. I am happy for you.

        The mere fact that she got out of the ‘system’ so early, was an act of wisdom. She escaped a LOT of manipulative brainwashing.
        I mean, it’s one thing to learn how to read and write, and it is another to learn how to think for yourself, which is not allowed in the school system that I know.
        Being able to think for yourself and know who you truly are, is life. That’s how I see it…..

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You’re so right, darling! Even though she didn’t “get out of the system” by a conscious decision – who makes decision at the age of 10? – and never learned to read and write Russian (I tend to think that Yiddish, German, and French she had learned in childhood were quite sufficient)

        Liked by 1 person

      3. ren says:

        True, was not her ‘choice’ to leave the system (or was it?). The wise are wiser than we know.
        And yes, who needs Russian language when you got three others to utilize? Three others? Learned in childhood? How beautiful and intriguing!

        Yep, I love your grandmother and thank you for sharing her with us. You are blessed to have her in your life, for I have a feeling that she is always with you.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. You are so very perceptive, dear Ren! Yes, I feel blessed that I was brought up by my grandmother, and yes, she is always with me.
        I thank you, dear friend, for your understanding and compassion!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. …got cut off, sorry! Both my grandmother and her sisters were busy hiding their father from the Red Army, the White Intervention, and the Green Gangs, all of whom were killing each other, but all of them were killing Jews in the process. Yet you are so right: because they didn’t get the communist schooling, they retained their faith in the A-mighty and the values that came with it.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. ren says:

        Very strong she was and full of so much love! Isn’t it beautiful how things turn out? I mean, even though her life was what it was, it did not stop her from doing what her heart showed her. Such a strong woman!

        Thank you for taking time to share. I really appreciate it.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Funny you should see her as strong: most people perceived her as timid and humble. She never spoke above whisper, and forbid everyone to address children in anything but a loving tone. Yet, in her quiet way, she ruled the house and enforced strict rules.
        Thank you, dear Ren, for allowing me to reminisce!

        Liked by 1 person

      8. ren says:

        It is what’s inside her, that gives her the strength I see and you summed it up nicely. The pleasure is all mine and thank you for sharing!

        Liked by 1 person

      9. Much love and many blessings to you and your son!

        Liked by 1 person

      10. ren says:

        Your blessings are received with much gratuity.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. lghiggins says:

    Dolly, May you and your family be blessed as you celebrate this Passover season. Thank you for sharing this delicious bean soup recipe. White beans have long been a comfort food for me.💜

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Linda, and I am so glad you like the recipe.
      We say that those who bless others, are doubly blessed themselves – many blessings to you and yours!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Blessed Passover to you, thank you for sharing your grandmother’s beautiful explanation of the tradition of welcoming strangers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Mimi, for your lovely comment!

      Like

  8. Good for your grandmother

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Wishing you a Happy Passover!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind wishes, darling!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. purpleslob says:

    I’ve participated in 2 Seders in my life. So beautiful! And reminders of God’s grace and redemption!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, dear purple person! As my husband remarked in his speech during the services, when you get rid of all the extraneous fluff (you cal it decluttering), what you have left is simple matzoh made only of flour and water: flour, which means sustenance, and water, which is the flowing Grace of G-d. This is the bread of Spiritual Freedom!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Catwoods says:

    Many hopes for a joyous Passover, Dolly. I think your explanations about kindness are very moving and meaningful. And “Hello Stranger” is one of my all-time favorite songs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so glad you like it, dear Leah, and I thank you for your lovely comment and good wishes!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. It looks terrific, and I love that you give musical accompaniment recommendations!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Jennifer; I am so glad you like it! I just do what I like and hope that some people out there enjoy it.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. CarolCooks2 says:

    Hi, Dolly, I wish you and your family a blessed Passover…Thank you for the follow 🙂 xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Carol, for some reason WP unfollows my follows once in a while, so I have to be vigilant and follow the same people again and again. Tedious, but you can’t fight a system.
      Thank you for your kind wishes, dear friend!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. CarolCooks2 says:

        I hear you, Dolly I find the same thing happening it is all a scheme to make us think we are losing our marbles…haha

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ha! Communist government couldn’t make me think what they had wanted me to think; WP will definitely not succeed.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. CarolCooks2 says:

        I never thought would you are one strong lady with a lovely heart…:) x

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Thank you, dear friend (blushing allover the internet)!

        Like

  14. I have to apologize for the late revisit, Dolly! Hope you had a nice celebrations. Thank you very miuch for remembering the history. Best wishes, MIchael

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for a lovely comment, Michael , and no apologies needed! I appreciate your visits and your support. Thank you for your kind wishes!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Certains petits esprits le font. Surtout les allemands qui veulent aujourd’hui regagner le pouvoir en Afrique. Lol

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Michael, I wonder is this comment was addressed to me; I don’t know French, sorry.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Oh sorry Dolly! Lol Yes, a little mistake, but only written by translator. Addressed to Jane (janedougherty.wordpress.com) Lol Excuse me, best wishes, Michael

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Mo problem, and no apologies necessary. Have a great week, Michael.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. You too Dolly! :-)) Thank you!!

        Liked by 1 person

  15. According to my DNA profile, I am a smidge Ashkenazi. Even without that, I would enjoy your stories and your soup, Dolly! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Who cares who is ” a smidge” what! We are all one big and – I hope! – loving family, at least that is what we should be, in my humble opinion.
      Thank you for your kind comment, dear Anna!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Outosego says:

    [ ]

    Hello, #Stranger, Have Some #Soup!

    Like

  17. Reblogged this on koolkosherkitchen and commented:

    This year, Passover starts in two weeks from now, and once again, due to Covid restrictions, no freinds or family, let alone strangers, will be invited to share our Seder. In memory of those pre-Covid happier days, I am repeating this post.

    Like

  18. lifelessons says:

    This soup looks sooo good. And, I didn’t know that song was named Hello Stranger. I always thought it was “It Seems Like a Mighty Long time.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Judy!

      Like

  19. Thank you Dolly for the information and yummy recipe

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My pleasure to share, and I thank you for your kind comment, dear Philo.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Doug Thomas says:

    I’m sure your home will be rich with the foods and traditions of Passover no matter what COVID-19 brought to limit it! (The soup would be a welcome treat here. I love simple soups, and I can’t recall any that turned out bad when I made them.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for a comforting comment, Doug. Enjoy your soups, while I pop over and try to catch up on the little darling.

      Like

      1. Doug Thomas says:

        Sounds like a winner, Dolly! I’m sure the two of us together could improvise on fine soup!

        Liked by 1 person

  21. notamigrant says:

    Inspiring as always Dolly, although it’s midnight here in UK, it’s an idea for the forthcoming week’s meal & with a story!

    Like

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

      Like

  22. KoolKosherkitchen
    My mouth started watering when I read your post. Love this soup.
    Regards and goodwill blogging..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Rudy!
      Be well,
      Dolly

      Like

  23. CarolCooks2 says:

    Delicious soup cooked with love…Hugs x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, darling! Hugs right back to you.

      Liked by 1 person

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