Meet the parents

January 20th, 2009

Imagine if someone you hardly knew – equipped with only their stubborn insistence, vague navigational skills and a bag of spinach – arrived at your home one morning. What you would make of it?

Make soup, I say.

Denise Andrade and her husband, Carsten Kroon, gave me their prized covered parking space, opened the front door to their comfy haven, and let me keep noisy company with them and new baby Cedar on Monday. I babbled them out of their quiet sanctuary and crowded them out of their kitchen. But they were most kind and accommodating, because they are new parents. And new parents don’t get much of a say, do they?

Cedar, if you hadn’t guessed, is a fluffy soft, sleepy bundle of tiny (yes, he’s still tiny) goodness. He could have cared less for me or anything I brought, because he has this:

To redeem myself, I simmered up a big pot of Italian Wedding Soup to do at least a little good on a January day and to last perhaps a day or so after.

If you need a boost, this could do the trick. If you know any new parents, make a double batch and take some over. We’ve all been called to serve others. They won’t have any choice but to let you in.

Italian Wedding Soup

Mix and brown these meatballs (or use your favorite meatless meatballs):

1 lb extra lean ground beef or turkey
1 large egg
1 minced garlic clove
1 medium onion, minced
1/3 cup breadcrumbs*
A few dashes of Worchestershire sauce
Salt and pepper, to taste

Then combine in a stockpot with this:

12 cups chicken or vegetable stock
6 oz orzo, pastina or other small pasta*
1 lb fresh baby spinach, washed and drained

If you’re making meatballs, combine first 7 ingredients in a mixing bowl. Roll 1 tsp portions into balls and brown in a skillet until done. Place meatballs and all other ingredients in soup or stockpot. Simmer until pasta is done, stirring as needed to keep pasta from sticking to bottom of pot. Serve immediately.

Based on an original recipe by Andrea In Blue.

* Modify to gluten-free like I did by substituting 1/3 cup crushed gluten-free Rice Krispies for the breadcrumbs, and use any small gluten-free pasta.


  1. She looks proud. And your pictures are gorgeous.

    Comment by Kristin H. — January 21, 2009 @ 3:50 am

  2. Beautiful baby and mommy.

    After today, I could use some wedding soup too. Maybe that’ll be tomorrow’s dinner.

    Comment by Kathryn — January 21, 2009 @ 3:58 am

  3. Ah, I have just the mama in mind.

    Comment by Bridge — January 21, 2009 @ 4:35 am

  4. and now i have dinner for thursday.

    i have not stopped thinking of denise since she started her journey of mamahood. you are a good stranger friend.

    Comment by mames — January 21, 2009 @ 5:18 am

  5. Babies. Mmmmm.

    “Love that casts a widening pool of light.”

    Comment by She She — January 21, 2009 @ 1:17 pm

  6. Ah wonderful soup – I think I will give it a go – sounds lovely!

    Great pictures and – AND I know a friend who has two baby girls – who may just need me and my soup there to help!

    Comment by Cat — January 21, 2009 @ 3:33 pm

  7. I love it!

    After being completely clueless about how much help we would need (and not feeling able to ask) with our first baby, I now make food for every new mom I know or barely know.

    I also organize all their friends and family to bring them meals for the first months of new baby-dom.

    It does everyone good!

    Comment by Stacy (mama-om) — January 21, 2009 @ 6:39 pm

  8. Yup, the price of admission to see a new baby should always be nourishing, homecooked food. Perfect! (If I get enough time before a baby arrives, I prepare a couple pans of lasagne for the new mom’s freezer, so that she can pop it in the oven whenever she needs it.)

    Comment by Judy Merrill-Smith — January 21, 2009 @ 6:44 pm

  9. I like what Judy said about the price of admission to see a new baby. That’s an excellent idea!

    The soup sounds heavenly. I’ll have to try this.

    Comment by Mama Zen — January 21, 2009 @ 6:55 pm

  10. Before we brought our daughter home, I couldn’t have predicted how very much the meals people brought would mean to us. It was, in so many cases, such an unexpected gesture, all the more touching in its simplicity, and made our family feel nourished in more ways than one.

    Comment by East End Jenn — January 21, 2009 @ 9:39 pm

  11. i love you.
    i loved having you here.
    i loved your soup.
    i love our connection.

    thank you for listening to your heart and knowing what we needed.

    denise, carsten and cedar

    Comment by Boho Girl — January 23, 2009 @ 6:01 pm

  12. There are few things that give me more pleasure than feeding new parents. I’m kind of a freak about it. I do remember how every meal means so much after births and deaths.

    So wonderful to read about your wonderful visit and soup-making sesh. And the recipe sounds fab.

    Comment by Leah — January 27, 2009 @ 3:57 am

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