There have been some interesting posts around the blogosphere lately about friendship. Mel wrote a great post about female friendships that has inspired quite the lively discussion and remembrance of friends past. Trinity has been writing about her efforts as a relatively new SAHM to forge new relationships with others in that position, about how different she suspected they might be, and how, later, she discovered that they might not be so different after all. Esperanza wrote about her relationship to the blogging community, and her difficulty finding friends in "real life" that she connects with in the same way she connects online.
Soon after I had my son four years ago, I joined and was soon kicked out of the stay-at-home-moms group because I wasn't attending enough of their meetings, despite the fact that I actually took days off to attend playdates--talk about neurotic! They weren't really my tribe anyway, and I started a working moms group in my county, in the hopes of finding other women who were dealing with the same challenges I was. Now, four years later, oddly enough, though I do count many of those women as friends, I feel like it's created more close relationships for the other members of the group than it has for me. To be honest, I've always been a little bit jealous of those women for whom those relationships seem to come so easily, and wondered what I was missing, what I was doing wrong.
In the past year or so, I've noticed that I finally seem to be developing more friendships with women. I still don't think I would call them at three a.m. for a two hour conversation, but they're people I trust, and to whom I relate. I don't know what's precipitated the change, other than the fact that maybe I'm becoming more willing to let down my own guard; it could just be that I've finally met the right people. It could also be that technology has given me a platform that allows me to build relationships in a safer space, strange as that may sound. We've all read about the ways in which social media isolates us, but in other ways, I suspect that it enables relationships that would never otherwise exist.
I adapted this recipe to my own tastes and dietary leanings from one originally published by the one and only Pioneer Woman. It's particularly apt because as I was enjoying a long walk with a friend this past week we discovered that we'd both just been looking at it recently. This soup is good for summer: unfussy, but filling, a little spicy, and highly adaptable ... just like good friends should be.
Tell us: do you have a "best friend" as Mel describes? How did you find your "tribe"?
1½ t. cumin
1 t. chili powder
½ t. garlic powder
½ t. salt
1 T. olive oil
1 c. diced onion
½ c. diced red bell pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (10 Oz. Can) Rotel tomatoes and green chilies
32 oz. (4 c.) low sodium vegetable stock
3 T. tomato paste
4 cups hot water
2 cans (15 Oz. Can) black beans, drained and rinsed
½ c. frozen corn
3 T. cornmeal
5 corn tortillas, cut into 2-3" strips
sour cream/greek yogurt
diced red onion
grated monterey jack or cheddar
Heat olive oil in a pot over medium high heat. Add onions, red pepper, and minced garlic. Stir and begin cooking, then add the spice mix. Stir to combine.
Pour in tomatoes, stock, tomato paste, water, and black beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes, uncovered.
Mix cornmeal with a small amount of water. Pour into the soup, then simmer for an additional 30 minutes. Check seasonings, adding more if needed—add more chili powder if it needs more spice, and be sure not to undersalt. Add the frozen corn. Turn off heat and allow to sit for 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Five minutes before serving, gently stir in tortilla strips.
Ladle into bowls, then top with whatever garnishes you like!