It was a gray-sky day in the San Bernardino Mountains, and outside the cabin a bitter wind was swatting down the last damp leaves. I needed to put myself in a better mood—and to lose a few pounds.
So I went down to the farmers’ market, picked up bunches of the dark greens that thrive in cool weather: great, shiny leaves of chard, spinach, kale, Italian parsley and cilantro. I started to chop. I threw some sliced onion into hot olive oil and heard the happy sizzle. I added garlic. Soon the cabin was filled with that greatest of perfumes. My spirits were already lifting.
The washed greens went into another pot with water and sea salt and a diced potato. When the onions, slowly sizzling in the skillet, turned the color of caramel toffee, in they went to the soup pot. A pinch of red pepper, a splash of lemon juice and I pureed the soup.
So easy. So green. And so delicious.
I ate that first steaming bowlful, and I sat up straighter and grinned wide. I was infused with phytochemicals, those mysterious, good-for-you compounds that I didn’t completely understand. Did I realize then that green soup would change my life? No, but over the next week it was green soup for lunch, more for a break while working, and then a bowl of green for dinner, dressed up with croutons or crumbles of moist feta cheese—divine. I had my new diet plan. More green, less everything else.