Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Building a Base

“Take it easy. Just run. You’re building a base.”

“Yeah, but I want it to be this like, AMAZING run.”

“You need a base. You’re coming back from an injury. Stop trying to be amazing and just run. Build up to amazing.”

Sometimes I subconsciously set up mental roadblocks with both my running and cooking where I want so badly to be amazing that I feel myself failing before I take the first step. I have to remind myself, and listen to advice: first build the base. 

Recently one of my girlfriends posted a recipe for Fennel-Tomato soup. She told me how delicious it was, so I wanted to try to make it. I pulled it up and went cross-eyed. The recipe was in metric. Five hundred hours later, I had converted the recipe into ye olde system, and made a list of ingredients.  Fennel, tomatoes, garlic, off to the store I went. Turns out, the only grocery store in my town doesn’t carry fennel. And since the metric conversion had taken so long, dinnertime was looming.

“What the fuuuuuuuuuuck this store has no fennel how am I going to make fennel soup without fennel and it was going to be so amazing Carol said it’s awesome and now what the fuck am I going to do?”

I was starting to annoy myself and my friend and all the other townspeople shopping in the produce section.

“Well, calm down. What’s the base?”

“The base?”

“Like, what is the base of the soup? Maybe it doesn’t have to be the most amazing fennel soup on earth. You could use the base to make something that’s also really good.”  

“Well. I guess it’s really a tomato soup base.”

Running and cooking and building a base. Getting used to it and training my body and brain to get going, keep going, do it without thinking too much and just make it happen, all the while building strength and knowledge and experience.

So, I made tomato soup. I quickly looked up a recipe promised by Martha Stewart to be delicious and easy, combined it with the Fennel-Tomato soup base, and jacked up the garlic content to number 11. It consists of simple ingredients: tomatoes, stock and garlic. Together they make a beautiful base. And sometimes building a base is the most amazing thing. 

Tomato-Garlic Soup

         6 T. butter
         2 medium onions, chopped
         12 cloves garlic, chopped
         24 oz. crushed tomatoes
         3 C. homemade chicken stock
         2 t. sea salt
         1/4 t. black pepper

Cook the onions in butter for 15 minutes. Add the garlic for 3 more minutes. Add the rest and cook for 20 minutes. Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth. Heat back up on the stove and add additional stock as necessary. 

Serve it with grilled cheese on rye after a winter run. 


  1. OK, this is an AMAZING post!!! you are one terrific writer and I hope you know that and keep doing what you're doing. <3 The super-delish garlicked-up version of the Warren family's all-time fave winter meal is, well, the garnish on the soup (!?). Can't wait to try it. And to go back and read your other posts and then each new one as soon as it comes out. Good for you, for building your base and sharing the love. xoxo --Lisa

  2. I wish that I lived closer & that you would cook for me.
    Good luck on building your base (soup and running). :)

  3. I love this post, Clythie. I know it is runcookeatrepeat, but I think there is a message in this for my substance abuse/relapse prevention groups tonight…