Self-Discovery and Soup
To be adapted. To swim with the tide. That is what one seems to expect us to do, isn’t it? When we are little we still are allowed, encouraged even, to be who and what we are. With all our quirks, ideas, dreams… but some day everyday life begins and starts to pull all those special things away from us. Little by little but still effectively. We are supposed to be ideal students. We are supposed to show interest in every school subject we have to attend to, to being able to proceed in life. Maybe that is justified. Perhaps. Somehow we have to be „valued“, to be stereotyped so one can see what we have accomplished. But what falls by the wayside? We want to belong to the cool kids. We want to be part of the „coolest clique there is on this world“. So we start to bend even more and hem ourselves in, without even recognising. Everybody keeps on telling us: „All of this will be better once you’ve grown up“. That feeling of being lost. That imaginary (?) loneliness. But does it really work this way? Because suddenly they don’t tell you to fit in anymore. They tell you to be yourself. So be unique. To trust in your strengths! But how do you do that?
Who are you?
To dig up all these traits that make us special after all these years of suppression, like precious treasures of the past, is exhausting. You have to put a lot of effort and energy in it and sometimes even a little bit of bravery, just to find back to yourself again. You have to try new things, even just out of impulse. Risk to jump in at the deep end. Get to know (and to love) new and wonderful people. And maybe let go of others that do you no good. Nothing ventured…
And if things are really bad, maybe a warming soup might help. A soup that strengthens from inside. That makes you brave again. A soup that caresses your soul and that is so simple to prepare, that you have enough time left in-between, to indulge in all of those new (and maybe a little crazy) hobbies that come with being just who you are. Even if that means to be a thirty year old woman that dresses herself as a 16 year old teenage boy with amazing pink hair and red eyes…!
Tonjiru 豚汁 – Japanese pork soup
Ingredients for 1 big pot
- 600 g pork belly
- 3 spring onions
- 3 cm ginger root
- 100 ml sake
- 1 piece of kombu (about 10 cm long)
- 2 l water
- 400 g potatoes
- 2 large carrots
- 3-4 tbsp yellow miso
Cut the pork into bite-size pieces. Finely chop the white part of the spring onions, chop the remaining green part into slices. Cut the ginger into coins.
Put the pork into a large pot on medium heat and let the fat dissolve. Add the white part of the onions and the ginger and let it cook until the pork is done and you have a light brown crust on the bottom of the pot. Pour in the sake and scrape the bottom of the pan to free those lovely flavors, then add the kombu and the water.
Switch the heat to high temperature and bring the soup to a boil. Use a spoon to scrape off the foam on the surface of the broth until no more foam starts rising up. Turn down the volume, put on the lid and let the soup simmer gently for 30-45 minutes. Meanwhile peel the carrots and the potatoes and cut them into bite-size pieces or chunks.
Scrape off the fat on the surface of the tonjiru. Add the carrots and potatoes to the soup, cook for 15 more minutes until tender. Switch off the heat, then stir in the miso. Depending on the brand and kind of miso you use you might have to add more miso, so season it to your taste. Serve hot with the green parts of the onion.
The tonjiru is very delicious when still fresh but you can store it in the fridge as well and heat it up on the next day.