My husband and I have long been fans of Middle Eastern restaurants. We love the wonderful, innovative dishes, the flavorful seasonings and the hospitality and friendliness of the Middle Eastern people. We feel lucky to live in a diverse area like Metro Detroit and marvel that despite our political differences we live together in peace and harmony.
Before I became a psychotherapist, I was an early childhood teacher. My classroom was vibrant and diversified. I met lovely Iraqi mothers who showed their gratitude by bringing me platters of delicious homemade goodies. You can imagine my excitement when one of my student’s mothers invited me to her home for Middle Eastern cooking lessons. I was delighted to watch as she prepared the recipes with such love and joy. She explained to me that she got enormous pleasure from cooking for her family. She smiled like an angel as she shared that this was one of the ways she showed her family her love for them.
I wanted to learn to make Gallaba and Shwarma but more than anything I wanted to learn to make my favorite recipe of all time, Crushed Lentil Soup. To my delight, she was more than happy to oblige. She made it with flair; it was not only much easier to make than I imagined; it was even more delicious than my favorite restaurant’s version of it. I couldn’t wait to go home and surprise my own family.
Many years have passed since the day of my cooking lesson. I make the soup often for my family and whenever I do, I recall this wonderful woman’s warmth and the generosity of her spirit. It feels good and right to be nurturing my family with healthy food.
This simple pot of soup is always a reminder to me that we all want the same things. We want our children to be happy, fulfilled and well-fed; we want peace for ourselves; we want peace for our nearest and dearest; we want peace for the world. And even if the whole answer isn’t sharing soup, it sure can’t hurt.
In honor of Samara, I happily share this recipe with you.
Crushed Lentil Soup
1 — 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion chopped
2 stalks of celery
2 cups red lentils (at Whole Foods or Middle Eastern markets)
8 cups of water (I use less…maybe 6 cups if you like it thick like I do)
1/2 lemon squeezed
1 T curry powder
about Â½ bag spinach chopped
2 — 3 chopped or sliced carrots
Sauté onions and celery in oil until translucent. Boil lentils in water. Add everything except lemon juice and curry. Simmer for 30-40 minutes. Stir in lemon and curry.
Brenda Strausz is a holistic psychotherapist with a practice in Southfield, MI. She combines traditional and alternative techniques to help you live with more ease, joy and freedom. Her belief in the healing power of love and forgiveness guides her work. She can be reached through her website at www.BrendaStrausz.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or her facebook page Open to Joy.
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