I’ll spend Saturday morning making soup that I won’t eat.
First browning some chicken for the stock – keeping the skin on because the homeless need the extra fat. Adding a big bag of carrots. Celery. Onions. Tomatoes. Egg noodles.
I pay as much attention to the taste and texture of this soup as if I were going to feed it to my own family. I try to balance out the nutritional value. Tasting it, testing it. Nope, not enough carrots. Going to need a couple more.
The soup we make is a joyful medley of orange and yellow and red – robust stock shimmering with the golden sheen of chicken fat. Ready to warm the inside of someone’s cold, hungry body.
It might feed their stomachs. I’ll fall into the cliché and say it feeds my soul. It certainly gives me an immediate sense of well-being. There is little more satisfying than knowing the food that I’m preparing now will, in a few hour’s time, be devoured by those with perhaps nothing else to eat.
They’ll smack their lips and say “My compliments to the chef” or “This is the best soup I’ve ever tasted” and those messages will come back to me, transmitted from those taking the soup to various corners throughout the city of Toronto. Every Saturday at 5 p.m. the Hunger Patrol van goes, headed by the Rev. David Burrows of St. Olave’s church in Toronto.
The men and women line up on the street and wait for him. They know he’ll come. He never lets them down.
And the privilege, I would reply to those who like the soup, to those who for a few moments are fed, is mine.