Three soup spoons

A tale of many layers and of life journeys.

The fourth soup-making event of the season took place on January 11, gathering visual artist / jewelry designer Tia Keo and artist / botanist / educator Sarah Nassif.

(To find out more about this soup-making series, click here).

A chronological account of a soup-making night in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Three soup spoons once got lost in a 90 square-foot kitchen, under layers and layers of leafy greens.

They had travelled all the way from Laos in Tia’s suitcase and had been brought to our home along with a pot of homemade broth, bottles of various sauces, spice containers, mounds of vegetables, a sesame ball and… a sugar free cacao treat.

In this picture the spoons were stil safely in their box, in Tia’s hands.

We were preparing Lao pho’, an invigorating noodle soup, full of herbs and fresh greens.

We got three small metal spoons out of their colorful packaging, washed them and left them to dry.

Our attention got diverted by a perfectly round sesame ball, brought warm from an Asian supermarket. A shiny carapace of sesame seeds. What delights awaited beneath?

Crispy, goopy, melty goodness. Happening in sequence. Layer after layer. Each adding meaning and depth to the other.

Pure yummy goodness

As the broth slowly warmed up, conversation went from the clothes we were wearing and the factories they came from to the influence of our parents’ and grandparents’ political beliefs on our own. Can you become impervious to strong pro-capitalist family dogma? Can you look past Soviet-era family trauma and embrace a modern socialism of your own ?

Family stories fused but the broth was steaming and it was time to prepare our bowls. We poured the broth over noodles, adding the greens, sauces and condiments we wanted.

This is when we realized the spoons were gone. They had vanished into thin air, puzzling host and guests alike.

But it was time to sit down and eat. We gave up looking for the original spoons, got three new ones out of the box and started our journey through the many flavors and textures present in our bowls. Crispy, salty, tangy, chewy, spicy, soft… warm but not too.

As we explored our bowls, we journeyed in words towards the past. Questioning once again ancestral traumas. How they shape the complex fabric of our lives. How they influence our journey forward today.

Nobody, of course, thought of the missing spoons.

Bowl of pho as a journey

Not in the sink, not on the counter, not in a drawer, not in bag.

Clock is ticking. Warm hugs. Drive safe! Until next time.

Alone in the kitchen, putting the last scraps of food away.

Deep in the compost bin, under layers of green,

Three soup spoons.

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