Can we find love in food? Although some will disagree, I think yes.
We eat to celebrate, to commemorate, to connect. I bet most of your favorite meals are so because of the warm and fuzzy memories they are rooted in. This is certainly true for me. Cinnamon-sugar toast reminds me of my mom, homemade noodles and pumpkin pie remind me of my grandmas, coffee and breakfast potatoes reminds me of weekends with my in-laws. Food and recipes are threaded through every moment of our history- our ancestors also ate to celebrate, commemorate, and connect.
This is the main reason why I do what I do- cook for clients, share recipes on this blog, and cook for my friends and family. Food is an opportunity for a cook to connect with an eater- to express love and form a bond. It is how I deliver my love to others. It is also how I deliver love to myself.
“Food is love” has a bad rap. In fact, you will typically hear people like me (i.e. “diet experts”) preaching that food is NOT love, that food is simply fuel- a necessity of life, but nothing more. The foundation of their reasoning is sound, but what I think they actually mean is that food is not a replacement for love. Certainly, you will not find love at the bottom of a bag of Chips Ahoy.
This conversation represents our incredibly tangled and complex relationship with food, made even more convoluted by the involvement of food companies like those who bring us Chips Ahoy. Food is rooted in love and community, yet the modern food environment completely disrespects this primal relationship with their drive-thrus and individually frozen meals. Now, “love” is available 24 hours a day in a convenient paper sack delivered to your car window or, even better, fresh off the turntable of your microwave- or so they’d like us to believe.
We eat because we must to survive, but we also eat in an attempt to strike that “love chord” that is baked into our biology. The sad state of the modern meal- almost always accompanied by cellophane and reheating instructions- represents a depressing and ineffective way to strike that chord. The best way to strike it, in yourself or in someone else, is to cook something from scratch. That’s when the secret ingredient of love finds its way in to the food.
So, maybe the more accurate expression is not “food is love”, but rather “cooking is love”.
What does this have to do with Creamy Vegan Tomato Soup? Absolutely nothing- except that maybe you will make it and love it. Maybe it will represent your first little baby steps away from the food industry and back into the kitchen and, in turn, your first baby steps toward showing some love for yourself. Maybe you will make it for someone whom you love and it will make that person feel loved. And maybe it will become a favorite meal filled with love and connection, perhaps even earning a place on your weekly rotation.
A girl can dream.
- 10 ounces cherry tomatoes
- 1 medium onion, roughly diced
- ½ cup raw cashews
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 2 cloves of garlic, roughly minced
- 28-oz. can diced tomatoes
- 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375F
- Slice cherry tomatoes in half.
- Line a baking sheet with split or parchment paper, and spread tomato halves in a single layer.
- Roast in preheated oven for 45 minutes.
- Heat 2 tbsp water in a soup pot over medium. Add diced onions and sauté until translucent.
- While onions are cooking, make cashew cream. In a high-speed blender, blend cashews with 1 cup vegetable broth until smooth and creamy.
- Add garlic, cashew cream, remaining 3 cups of vegetable broth, canned tomatoes, tomato paste, and roasted cherry tomatoes to the soup pot.
- Season with a large pinch of salt, pepper, and optional Italian seasoning.
- Bring soup to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Puree soup until smooth using an immersion blender or by transferring soup into a regular blender.