A good friend of mine said once I should put “In a relationship” as my Facebook status. When I was surprised and asked with whom I was having this relationship, she said “your library account”. Ha ha. But, of course, she’s right. I know my library card number by heart and I probably check my account three or four times a week. To keep myself from having way too many books checked out at once, I have half of my Hold list on pause so that needs curating as well. And it’s also fun to watch those popular books with long waitlists as they creep slowly towards being available.
In the fall of 2019, someone at a party mentioned a new cookbook written by Dan Buettner called The Blue Zones Kitchen. I’ve read three of his other books, 2 of them about the Blue Zones (particularly happy/healthy places in the world) so I went to my library account and requested the cookbook. There were about 580 people in line ahead of me and not a huge number of copies; I figured it would take a few months to get, but I wasn’t in a hurry.
Then pandemic descended upon us. The first thing was that the libraries all closed down. Then during the summer they started lending again, but you couldn’t actually go in the library. Now you can go into the building but you can’t hang out. You’re supposed to “grab `n go”. Hand in hand with all these changes is that due dates for books just keep pushing back and back. Except for downloadable audiobooks, nothing ever seems to come due anymore.
So as the months went by, I saw The Blue Zones Kitchen languishing on my Holds list, barely moving. In the fall of 2020, about a year after I put it on my Hold list, the library purchased a few more copies, so I was a bit more hopeful. On this past Monday, after 18 months, I got an email that the library was holding a copy for me.
My patience paid off – it’s actually a very nice cookbook and I think I may actually purchase a copy for myself. In the meantime, I’m going to make this recipe:
Melia Family Minestrone
7 Tbsp. olive oil
1 yellow or white onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 medium celery stalks, chopped
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
3 medium yellow potatoes, peeled & diced
1 ½ c. chopped fennel bulbs, stalks & fronds
1/4 c. chopped parsley
2 Tbsp. chopped basil
½ c. dried & peeled fava beans (or 15-oz can)
½ c. dried cranberry beans (or 15-oz can)
½ c. dried chickpeas (or 15-oz can)
(If using dried beans, soak overnight)
6-8 c. water or vegetable stock
2/3 c. Sardinian fregula, Israeli couscous or acini di pepe pasta
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper
- Warm 3 Tbsp. olive oil in large soup pot or Dutch oven.
- Add the onion, carrots, celery and cook until soft. Add garlic and cook until fragrant
- Stir in tomatoes, potatoes, fennel, parsley and basil, drained beans and chickpeas. Add enough water/stock so that all the veggies are covered.
- Bring to boil and then simmer slowly, uncovered, until beans are tender, about 1 ½ hours. If using canned beans, simmer for only 10 minutes.
- Stir in pasta, salt and pepper. Add up to 2 cups of water/stock if the soup seems too dry. Simmer for 10 more minutes until pasta is tender.
- Pour 1 Tbsp. olive oil into bowl before serving.
Have you ever waited a long time for something? Was it worth it?