I don’t cook.

My idea of a “cooked” meal is a tortilla with cheese. Add some onions and it is a gourmet meal. Thankfully I am lucky to have amazing cooks at Wooden Spoon that have been cooking for me the last several years.

Even though I don’t cook for myself, I have wonderful memories of cooking soup with my mom.

My mom was adamant that she wanted to spend time holding and playing with the babies, not fussing with the food

Holidays have always meant family to me. I have been lucky to have spent every Christmas with my immediate family since I was born. Growing up we had a full spread of food — a turkey dinner with all the fixings. Our Christmas Soup Tradition began when my sisters started having kids. That first Christmas, my mom was adamant that she wanted to spend time holding and playing with the babies, not fussing with the food. She figured out that soup would be easiest to make in advance and then have warm all Christmas day. I got home a little early that first year and was excited to help however I could even if it was with cooking!

My mom decided on Chili and Chicken Wild Rice. I remember how much fun it was to spend the days before Christmas making it together. We got all the ingredients out. There was the “Chili area,” piled high with cans of beans and tomatoes and spices. My mom was able to just make the chili without a recipe. She would tell me how to put it together as we went.

It was not really about the soup, it was about being with each other

The Chicken Wild Rice station always had the Best of Byerly’s cookbook propped up. That soup was tricky, so we followed the recipe exactly. I only screwed it up a few years when I was less attentive to the recipe. We made do because it was not really about the soup, it was about being with each other. I remember the laughing and the talking and that feeling of sharing moments.

Soup feels like home to me since it reminds me of cooking with my mom. When we opened the business as a bakery and soup place, it just felt right.

Some of our holiday traditions have changed over the years, but I am glad that making soup is part of our day. I admit that I am now partial to Wooden Spoon’s Creamy Chicken Wild Rice, but we still make our chili every Christmas. I don’t get over to the house early enough to help make it. But I try to compensate with a bundle of sweets and treats, and some of B’s amazing soups.

I hope that everyone finds time to enjoy each other during the holiday season and make your own traditions around food and family!

~~~

The Local Stir is the regular column of Natasha Frost, Brigitte Rasmussen, and Nicole Lange who all happen to have Wooden Spoon in common. At its heart, The Local Stir is about food culture and life in the kitchen but along the way you’ll be touched by the personal lives of all three contributors as well as being stirred by some of their other passions.

Additional Links

Author

  • Natasha Frost

    Natasha is the owner of <a href="http://woodenspoonmn.com/">Wooden Spoon</a>, a restaurant in the heart of Old Town Mankato. She is also a public health lawyer at a national non-profit. Natasha identifies as a cisgender, able-bodied white woman and an alcoholic in active recovery.