May 4: Why are we here and Lentil minestrone

kit yoon

I thought I knew it all in 12th grade.

The final assignment for my high school senior French class was to read Camus and Sartre, and write about them.

My French was not great; I was still trying to master English as my second language at that time. But after reading (translating) L’Etranger and Being and Nothingness, I thought for sure I knew the meaning of life. 🤓

I know, right? Me and all other 17 year olds alive!

At any rate, that was the beginning of my inquiry toward existentialism. It was exhilarating to ponder the meaning of life, the reasons for existing, the purpose of being.

I delved into some more topics around “why are we here” in college, only to be more confused.

  • I wrote papers in a Zen Buddhism class comparing science and religion and their answers to why we are here.
  • I studied alternative healers and self help gurus to learn their take on why we are here.
  • I’ve watched documentaries and listened to many books and lectures that tackle the idea of why we are here.

While it’s been fun to learn, many years later, I no longer have an answer to why we are here.

In truth, I no longer need to answer that question!

The WHY is no longer important to me.

We are here, that’s a given.

I am more interested in answering HOW we are here.

HOW are we living the “being here.”

We can answer by asking further with:

  • How do we want to feel?
  • How do want to experience the being?

One of the ways I like to be is to notice what and how I am feeling in each moment.

  • How are YOU feeling in this moment?
  • What are you feeling in this moment?

I know for sure that I feel nourished AND nourishing when I make this for and eat this soup with my family.

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LENTIL MINESTRONE SOUP

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow oniondiced
  • 2 medium carrotschopped
  • 2 celery ribs, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon sea saltplus more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups white beans or kidney beanscooked, drained, and rinsed
  • 4 cups broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup green lentils
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon pesto
  • Grated Parmesan cheeseoptional, for serving

Instructions:

  • Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  • Add the onion, carrots, celery, salt, and several grinds of black pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften.
  • Add the garlic, lentils, tomatoes, beans, green beans, broth, bay leaves, oregano, and thyme.
  • Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Stir in the pesto and cook, uncovered, for at least 20 more minutes, until the lentils are soft.

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