When I was a teenager, my father worked overnights. He frequently worked double shifts as well and would come home exhausted. Somehow he even managed to fit in coaching softball for all of us. One weekend in particular, I wanted to do something nice for my dad as a way of saying thank you for all of the hard work he put in. When talking to my mom about it, she offered up the idea of making his favorite soup. Growing up, my grandmother would make Portuguese Green Soup – or Caldo Verde – for my dad and his siblings. I recall my father telling me about how lovely the house would smell as it simmered on the stove and how delicious it was paired with a nice crusty piece of bread to dunk in it. It was the perfect way to say thanks.
My mom took me to the grocery store and showed me how to pick out the freshest ingredients, helped me chop everything and sat with me while I watched it simmer. When my father came home from work, his eyes were tired. He smelled the soup as soon as he walked in and smiled wide. I remember feeling so proud that I could bring that smile to his face after a long day.
Since then, Caldo Verde has been a feel good meal for me. It is my go-to when I need something to warm me up from the inside out or if I want a reminder of home. This weekend, my sweet baby sister and her fiancé traveled down from Georgia to visit. They spend the weekend playing with little man, cooking meals for our family and taking care of me. Despite the side effects of treatment, the weekend was filled with smiles and belly laughs. I couldn’t ask for anything more.
Tonight, thanks to my sister and her fiancé, I enjoyed a bowl of Caldo Verde for dinner. As the soup heated, the smell filled my house and I am once again reminded of the joy of family.
What meal reminds you of family?