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To paraphrase an old saying, if you want to truly appreciate what someone else does, you need to walk a mile in their shoes.  Or, maybe, make a soup in their kitchen.

Loyal followers of this blog will know that a few weeks ago, I stepped away from my usual pattern of poking fun at major corporations, PETA, and goofball politicians (i.e., my comfort zone), and laced up the apron to try cooking something.

I’m not exactly a neophyte when it comes to throwing pots and pans around. I’ve had a few signature dishes over the years that people have associated me with. Pickled herring.  Pecan pie.  My cheesecake period was epic.  For quite some time, I made a kick-ass meatloaf (which, truth be told, contained a goodly amount of vegetables) that we still talk about with reverence.

But, when I got the idea to contribute a dish for the blog, I must admit the nerves took over.  I wanted to do something with lentils.  Granted, lentil soup is not like making a vegan rendition of Yorkshire pudding or oysters Rockefeller, but still, I wanted it to taste good.

When I researched “vegan lentil soup recipes”, I picked the first one that came up. Not the third.  Not the tenth.  The first.  No exhaustive research necessary.  The recipe from Cookie and Kate had everything I wanted. Vegetables: tomatoes, onions, carrots, and kale.  Spice: garlic, cumin, curry powder, and red pepper flakes. And lemon for some tang.  My only changes were to add celery, extra carrots, and cut back on the cumin so it wouldn’t be too spicy.

When it came time for the ingredients to hit the pot, all I fretted over was a broth with no taste, and vegetables that would either be too hard or too mushy.  I sauteed the vegetables in the pot (not a dutch oven as Cookie and Kate did), and right away it seemed like the surface was too small to evenly heat all the vegetables. Plus, I had cut the celery and carrots into pieces as if they were going to be paired with onion dip, not lentil soup.  Way too big.

Once I added the water, vegetable broth (store bought), and the lentils, I calmed down a little.  I was supposed to take out two cups and blend it to thicken the soup.  I was apprehensive as Kate advised using a tea towel to protect myself from the steam.  Ultimately, the soup thickened enough on its own.  This fit well with my overall life philosophy that, when faced with a daunting task, sometimes doing nothing is the best option.  When it came time to add the kale near the end, I was thinking, “Do we really need this much kale?”

In the end, the final product was actually pretty good.  We didn’t even need the bread I bought to help us choke down the main course.  Like most soups, it got better with each serving.

This exercise has helped me realize one thing.  It is hard work coming up with new recipes week after week.  My hat is off to my vegan better half, the uber-blogger who totes this weight around, because she makes most recipes off the top of her head.  And she makes them taste good with alarming regularity.  While I hope to make more recipes in the future, I am happy to play second spatula in this household.

Now, what has Donald Trump been up to lately?

Who is the chef in your house?  Please leave a comment…