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melissa mcclure

soup and the single girl.

I am a goldsmith by trade and an eater of food by necessity (good food, specifically, and really, really ridiculously bad food by choice).

Being vaguely southern, OK Texan, and not at all southern, I figured that "one day" I'd have a bitchin' kitchen full of the best appliances and that I would magically know what to do with them-- when I got married. There was no reason to do it before then, right? My wedding registry was my birthright and a foregone conclusion.

But I woke up "one day" and was 37 years old without a clue as to how to take care of myself. I couldn't really cook much more than a few desserts and boxed Annie's Mac and Cheese. It was a pathetic situation, to be sure. If I had chosen a fast-track career over matrimony maybe I would have felt better about where I found myself, but I hadn't. I had become a pretty obscure artisan with little monetary reserves, even less business success and the owner of a cat that did little more than eat the crickets that had infested my loft. 

What I did have was a desire to make stuff, any stuff really, and to be connected to others in a meaningful way...and I lived across the street from the Sunday Farmer's Market in Hollywood.

So I put those scant things together and issued myself a challenge: pick one seasonal ingredient each week from the market and make a soup out of it. Any soup. I registered a domain, soupapalooza!, to make myself accountable and to ensure that I actually did what I had set out to do and I bought myself a decent knife.

And I cut the crap out of myself. Again and again.

And one soupapolooza! guest became three. And then ten. And then thirty.  And one course became two, then four.

And I found love, and my kitchen was already all set up! And I gave all the credit to the kitchen for manifesting this romantic success.

But it wasn't really meant to be, and sometimes the false alarms can prepare you for unexpected greater outcomes.

So I find myself many recipes and life lessons later, still an obscure artisan, but living a tremendously full life with amazing friends-- an urban family really-- and knowing that love really does start in the kitchen, with yourself. And the getting (and staying) there is a pretty fantastically funny and sometimes humiliating ride.

I hope you'll try the recipes (they are all pretty excellent, but I'll tell you honestly if they aren't) and enjoy the embarrassing monologues along the way. God knows I did.

Soup on!

                                                                                       awesome pano taken by Saam Gabbay