The broth is rich, the flavours clean and simple. The soup warms me, sates a deeper need for consolation -- it brings me back to myself, grounds me. I revel in the taste, the sensation of it as it trickles down my throat. I scoop up the vegetables and the rice at the bottom, plump with the fish stock. There is other food on the table, but this is all I need.
Just over a year ago, days after my lovely friend Katerina had passed away, I ate a fish broth soup that her aunt Angie had made. It was one of the many offerings that would be made by Katerina’s family and friends to honour her life, and to help keep her in our thoughts, days, weeks, months after she had passed.
Of course, I needed to know how to make this aromatic soup. ‘Please may I have the recipe?’ I asked Aunt Angie. She insisted I would need to come and see how she made it, perhaps after her husband had been fishing. But things happen in busy families – the birth of a grandson, yet another funeral – and the months ticked over before we had a chance to meet. Soon we would be commemorating the anniversary of Katerina’s passing. This prompted us to action, and so one morning I crossed the Westgate and made my way to her home.
As the soup bubbled, we looked at family photos, picked figs from the garden, sipped at Greek coffee. At lunchtime, we ate soup at Aunty Angie’s table. It tasted as delicious as the first time I’d had it. As I took my leave, I was loaded up with homemade bread, an oversized tub of the soup, a bag of garden greens and a few peaches from someone’s tree.
Now I’m wondering – was it the really the soup that gave me solace, or was it the person that made it?
Download Aunty Angie's fish soup recipe.