Memories: Kale Soup Connection

Memories: Kale Soup Connection

For Portuguese people, Kale Soup is a staple, a cultural meal. (My kale soup recipe)
It’s something most, if not all of us enjoy eating. For me Kale Soup is familiar and comforting, it makes me proud that my people are such damn good cooks haha, but mostly, it reminds me of my grandparents. My grandfather, specifically.

When my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer in 2004 and knew that her time was coming to a close, she wanted to make sure she left my grandfather with the ability to take care of himself. She had always been the cook in the house, an excellent one at that. My grandfather had never really needed the skill until now. Stricken with illness my grandmother sat in the kitchen with my grandfather, the man she had built a beautiful life with, and taught him her recipes. Thinking of this always makes me emotional because I cannot even imagine how they both must have felt. That reality that she was going to be gone soon, that we all start and end life alone. It’s so tragic. But its also beautiful in a way too. My grandparents had such a beautiful partnership that has always inspired me, and seeing that my grandmother was only 66 when she passed away their time was truly cut too short. There are tons of posts I could write about them. But I digress.

So, my grandmother taught and my grandfather learned. Though it was a difficult situation I can remember him being proud that he had successfully made one of her dishes during one of her hospital stays. My grandmother’s recipes were delicious in a way that could never quite be replicated, except, by my grandfather. When she did pass away in May 2005, after a long 9 month battle with cancer, my grandfather now was cooking for himself regularly. He often made Kale Soup. Whenever he made a big pot of kale soup he would call up his adult children and let them know to come by and get some.

I however, got my soup delivered. See, my grandfather had never learned to drive. My grandfather would get around most of the time by simply walking to places. In his old age we all encouraged him not to do this and to call us when he needed a ride, but he was set in his ways and not interested stopping walking places unless his health forced him to. He only lived about a mile or so away from us. Lucky for me, when he would make kale soup, he would put some in a small pot for me, wrap it up nicely in a bag, and also in the bag bring me a piece of Portuguese corn meal and walk it over to me. I was in high school at the time, and I remember being so excited when he showed up with Kale soup for me.

I know I talk about my grandmother more than my grandfather but I was equally as close to him and I felt we had a special relationship, especially when I think back to our little Kale soup tradition.

He was an amazing man, strong willed and stern seeming on the surface but beneath that was a goofy, prankster who even had a tenderness in his heart for stray cats. He loved his strays so much he made them homemade food with an old fashioned food grinder and once killed an opossum who tried to get near one of his cat’s kittens!
Oh lord, I’ve got a ton of stories I could share about him and I probably will. I feel so thankful to have so many memories with both of my grandparents and they really were a big part of forming the foundation of who I am. I truly, completely, believe they are watching over me, Kevin and Julia now. I have had signs of their presence in my life. It makes me feel comforted to know they are still around. I wish they could have met Kevin and Julia in their life time. But like I said.. I know they’re around. I feel it.

Thank you for reading, and have a wonderful weekend 🙂


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