After work yesterday, I spent some time rounding up ingredients for a Tuscan Peasant soup. It is a variation on my very Italian dad’s pasta e fagoli (Neopolitan pasta and beans), minus the pasta. It is a simple soup, but the production of it can be fairly labor intensive. Lots of chopping, sautéing, stirring, and mixing involved in its creation.

I had already made homemade chicken stock over the weekend and was contemplating how to use it when a wonderful memory kicked in. Last April, I had the honor of creating and cooking a ‘Six Course Tour of Italy’ as part of a fundraiser for the Teddy Bear Den’s Celebrity Night Out. Ben and our friend Crash acted as my sous chefs and  it was a night beyond compare!

We were in the gorgeous home of  the auction winners, Ken and Rita Karels, equipped with the kind of kitchen I can only dream about. There were wonderful musicians providing music. The guests were lively and interested in all the details of the meal. Wine and conversation flowed freely. It was a stellar experience.

All of this came back to me while contemplating that lonely chicken stock on the shelf in my fridge. Later when I sat down with a bowl of this savory concoction, I thought that although it was entirely delicious, something was missing. That’s when I decided that “comfort food” isn’t nearly as comforting without smiling faces to share it with.