I’m afraid I don’t really know what to say right now. I’m in shock.  Still in shock and disbelief over the unspeakable tragedy yesterday in Norway.

My parents and brother are there right now visiting the rest of our family.  I got a call to say they were alright even before I saw the news.  I was relieved, but also had the wind knocked out of me by the horror.  I spent the rest of the day checking the Norwegian news for updates.  And intermittently bursting into tears.

I am on my knees grateful that my family was out at the cabin and not in town that day.  Only 2 days before they had been by the building that exploded several times.  We are so lucky.  But my throat swells shut and my heart shatters each time I think of those who weren’t so lucky.

The youth on the island.  They were children for God’s sake.  What kind of monster, vermin, devil, does that kind of thing?????

Norway is my other home, my childhood, my Eden.  This is Paradise Lost.  It’s a beautiful country full of beautiful people.  People who try to be accepting, and humane, and fair, and stoic.  Someone trying to attack that, to crush it, is evil of the worst kind.  I’m going numb again now thinking about it.  My heart and prayers go out to all those families.

I don’t know what more to say.  I didn’t know what to do with myself all day yesterday.  But, I needed to do something besides look at the paper, something to move my numb fingers.  So, of course I cooked.  It seems silly, in the face of tragedy.  But, it is at least a tiny, maybe microscopic but existent nonetheless, act of defiance.  That life, not just despair, persists in the face of sadness.

There’s a quote I read awhile back, I can’t remember who it was from, or the whole quote even, just that it said something with the sentiment that ‘God is in the falling and getting up again.’  The earth, humankind really, has been doing a lot of falling this year.  We have seriously scarred knees and elbows that may never recover.  But, we still have to get up again.  That’s what it’s about.

So, I made soup.  It was too hot for real cooking, so this is a chilled soup that whirs together easily in the blender.  But, the cool, sweet smell that filled my nose as I peeled the cucumbers and the slippery  creaminess of the avocado under my fingers woke me up again a little.

This soup is as cool and refreshing as a dip in my beloved North Sea, and the avocado and buttermilk make it as soft and whispery as a velvety blanket.  But, the cayenne gives it a little bite, because that’s life.  Next time I write, maybe I’ll be filled with joy, goofiness, and excitement again.  I’m kind of counting on it.  But for now, this is what I have.

Avocado Cucumber and Buttermilk Soup (serves about 4 as a first course, 2-3 as a main dish)

This soup is quite filling, even while feeling light and summery.  If you sprinkled it with crumble cotija/feta cheese or some cooked crab or shrimp and added a salad or whole grain bread, I think it could be a meal in itself.  It’s also a refreshing starter for a summer meal.

  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into small chunks
  • 2 ripe avocados, skin and seed removed, and cut into chunks or slices
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk (or 1 cup milk and 1/2 cup yogurt)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • the juice of 1 lime
  • a couple Tablespoons chopped mint or cilantro for sprinkling on top
  1. Put the cucumber and avocado pieces in a blender.  Add the buttermilk, cayenne, salt, and lime juice.  Whir it all together until it’s completely smooth.
  2. Transfer to a bowl, cover (putting plastic wrap directly on the surface of the soup actually works the best for preventing any browning) and chill for 1-2 hours.
  3. Divide into bowls, sprinkle with chopped mint or cilantro, and serve
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9 Responses to Soothing avocado soup

  1. Elle Hyson says:

    Emily, your soup recipe sounds delicious and something I want to make as soon as I am able to leave the apartment.

    I understand how you are feeling abut the horrific events in Oslo – I spent the first 70 years of my life in Manhattan and on 9/11 after waking from a minor surgical procedure, was told by my husband what had happened at the World Trade Center. My immediate reaction was tears and the feeling that I belonged in NYC and not in Raleigh, NC where we now live -

  2. Kate Stricklan says:

    My husband and I moved to Stavanger a couple of months ago. Yesterday morning I decided to make vaffeler, as per your recipe. We feasted on them while overlooking the rolling hillside, family farms, and stunning fjord outside our windows. It was my one small way of honoring the lives lost and the unconquerable spirit of the Norwegian people.

  3. Waverly says:

    We will never understand the whys, but falling down is part of living. Your post was thoughtful and well said. I am glad that your family is fine. Your cold avocado soup sounds wonderful.

  4. I’m glad your family is safe. It’s hard to comprehend why people do such horrible things to other people. It makes my heart ache.

    This soup sounds wonderful. I hope it helped give you the hug you needed that day.

  5. […] I’ve had avocado soup for lunch for about 5 days in a row.  We’ve had sourdough tomato soup, and Norwegian […]

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