Made to Last

Place de Vosges

I walk the streets and squares of Paris and think how long... how long all this has been here. I pass by churches a thousand years old or older. Cobblestones are smooth under my feet, scoured by the ages. Renaissance buildings look out over a square where once there were jousts. What fine ladies peered out the windows, from these places that were made to last?

As I walk, I think of how small I am, how brief my life. I watch my children balance where knights made good on vows or showed bravado. Horses hooves that trampled this dust are long gone, except in my imagination. I consider whether I am building anything made to last.

Maybe just this... love that nurtures little bodies and souls, that perhaps will go on to nurture bodies and souls, down through the ages rubbed clean of any memory of me. Perhaps that would be enough. It must, after all, be enough. The little cobblestones of my life set down in a line of others. Love, made to last.

(Below, just a little practical nurture for today. Black bean soup, from my small kitchen...)

Black Bean Soup

Black Bean Soup

Saute until lightly browned...

• 1 onion, chopped small
• 1 stalk celery, chopped small

Add and stir briefly...

• 1/2 tsp ground cumin
• 1/4- 1/2 tsp fennel seed
• 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
• 1/2 tsp dried oregano

Add and cook 25 minutes or until thickened...

• 3 cans black beans or 2 1/2 cups dry (then cooked) black beans
• 1 carrot, chopped in small squares
• 1 heaping TB tomato paste
• water to cover


• few pours olive oil
• 1 TB lime juice (lemon in a pinch)
• small handful fresh chopped cilantro
• salt and pepper to taste


• Spoonful of salsa
• Spoonful of sour cream

Serve with homemade cornbread and coleslaw.

Place de Vosges in Paris photo, Black Bean Soup photo, by L.L. Barkat.


Paris Lost and Found

Labels: ,


Blogger Sarah said...

That soup sound fabulous...for a day where the high is below 100!!

6:38 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Wow. 100?

We obviously live in different regions. : )

6:50 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...


6:57 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Yeah...way too hot for October! Way to hot for any time, if you ask me, but they didn't ;)

6:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A friend of mine in college told me he wanted to have kids and that he hoped they would turn out to be the best at everything. He wanted them to be better than him. I didn't say so, but at the time my ego cramped up and said inside my black little heart, "no way...*I* want to be the best at everything."

He died several years ago. Something I have to take a little credit for. Your question of building something that lasts has, in my life, gone both ways. I've also seen ways in which I've destroyed things so that they stay destroyed. I wish I could tell my friend that now that I have a son, I see how right he was.

But to move on...to learn from the tragedies of the past and to use the rubble and ruins of past relationships to stir into the mortar and bricks of new ones that, as you say, are being built to last!

Great post...and the soup sounds great!

10:50 AM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Andrew, that is a sad story, in its way.

As for the soup, it's delicious. For years, I tried to make good black bean soup and never could find the right combination. This is it. THE SOUP. :)

12:32 PM  
Blogger nannykim said...

There is something about old places that always put life into perspective. It also makes me feel joined to the many that have gone on before me and that will come after me, but at the same time, it is slightly eerie.

I love bean soup and yours looks inviting--I may have to try it out later this week.

1:49 PM  
Blogger Deb said...

I like your post; amazing the analogies one can draw from brick and mortar.
The soup would be great to try on a chilly evening like tonight. Today's high 56 and possibility of frost tonight.

2:03 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Nannykim... yes, it IS slightly eerie. In that square, I felt I could see the ghosts of horses, knights in flashing armor. The soup? Awesome. Really.

Deb... let me know what you think of the soup if you make it. Or if you make any changes. It's always fun to hear what people do with my recipes. : )

2:11 PM  
Blogger Joelle said...

Yes, I believe love is enough. And everything.

I have to take something to potluck tomorrow. It's hot, but who cares?! The soup I shall share! (Unless, of course, it tastes too good and I decide to keep it all for my greedy little self.)

5:08 PM  
Blogger Deb said...

I made your soup last night with some variations: I had no fennel seeds,so that got left out; No tomato paste, so substituted tomato sauce. Ted likes his soup to be thick; very little liquid. Dr. Joel Furhman points to beans & greens being our most nutritious staple. Thus to thicken the soup, i added one drained can of spinach. The soup was delicious, we both loved it!

9:50 AM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Joelle... hope your potluck went deliciously. :)

Deb... so glad to hear you liked the soup! The fennel seed gives a taste like sausage, so if you like that taste you can try it for next time.

10:15 AM  
Blogger Joelle said...

I think I was the only one to eat the soup at potluck. Which I was immensely happy for. So I have lots frozen. Will be eating black beans all week! The lime and cilantro are my favorite parts--scrumdiddlyumptious!

5:58 PM  
Anonymous structured settlements said...

Thanks for the soup

5:38 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home