Edward’s Evening Soup

I’ve been unable to write about Edward this winter and spring because while he continues to make wonderful recipes, and I continue to collect them and test many, and Megan continues to photograph them, I haven’t known how to address the fact that the house in Katonah has been in turmoil due to Ellie’s diagnosis of dementia. I still don’t. I feel weird revealing her condition, but if I am going to continue to post Ed’s recipes, something he wants me to do, then I have to come clean. We are worried and worn out. But I am lucky that my siblings Cham and Lisa are sensible and generous collaborators in her care. We meet, we strategize, we have a martini.

But Edward is another story. He trudges up to the studio to paint, turning over the garden, going to Arthur Avenue on Fridays to shop and hang out with his buddies and talk food. Maybe his naps after lunch are a little longer, but he is like a tugboat: strong and tough and slow, he pulls along the whole artifice of the house, the garden and the studio–the life they had–behind him into the next day.

Twice a day he cooks for himself and Elinor: fish on Fridays and Saturdays, chicken on Sundays with vegetables, pasta for lunch only, and liver, fava beans, and oysters because Elinor is anemic. They sit at the table, and have a glass of Edward’s homemade wine. He’s using up bottles in the wine cellar these days, and loves to say “I made this in 1978 and it’s better than ever, but you have to add some ice.” This, to mitigate the sourness. In fact, I think all the whites in the cellar have turned. If Elinor is not too agitated, after a glass or two they take a nap together on the couch. In the evening, Edward makes lighter fare. This month he’s been making chicken and spinach soup.

It’s incredibly easy and surprisingly delicious, even a bit rich tasting, but the success of this dish depends on homemade stock. Edward makes his every Sunday evening with the chicken carcass from Sunday lunch. It is one of the patterns that I think keeps him going, in more ways than just nourishment.

Spinach SoupSpinach-soup-2
Serves 4

2 pints chicken or beef stock
4 bird’s nest pasta
4 cups spinach leaves, washed
Juice from ½ lemon
4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


In a medium sized pot, bring the stock to a gentle boil over a medium heat. Add the pasta and spinach. Cook until the pasta is al dente and the spinach has wilted. Add the lemon juice, Parmesan, and seasoning, and serve.

8 Comments on “Edward’s Evening Soup

  1. Eugenia what a nice surprise to receive your latest post by e-mail this morning. Happy to see you back on the radar but saddened to hear the news about the challenge your family is going thru. Your father is seemingly remaining strong and keeping his focus which should be a lesson to all of us as we age. We all live in a small space, between the future we anticipate and the past we try to relive. Since I realized there is more time behind me than ahead of me, I view each day as a gift, and as such I like your father’s approach.
    I enjoy your stories and recipes as not only to I get good food ideas to explore but perspective to improve my own writing as well. So thank you for coming back on my radar and thank you also for reading my blog posts.
    Best …

  2. This is the first post I’ve received since signing up and I’m so excited, although this post is bittersweet. I’ve written about you and your books twice on my blog. I’d feel honored if you’d check them out!

  3. Aging in the family unit is difficult. My mother-in-law is having uti induced dementia so is in hospital to get meds for the infection. I appreciate this post in light of the difficulties and love the recipe. Thanks.

  4. I’m sorry to hear about your mother; I’ve wondered about the absence of the Kitchen Ecosystem.

  5. I’m so sorry. I can’t imagine the stress you’re enduring. I worried your absence was due to your father’s health. Now I see it is your mother’s–though I know Edward is not as young as he was once was. “Sorry” is a weak word. Your books–including Italian Family Dining– are a continuing presence in my kitchen, helping me feed and care for my disabled spouse. Thank you.

  6. So sorry to hear this news about your mom, Gena. It’s such a difficult phase of life that so many of us go through. Your father, who has always been an amazing man, continues to be an inspiration.

  7. I was delighted to see a new post from Kitchen Ecosystem but sorry to read of the challenges your family is facing. It’s a familiar path to many of us. Wishing you love and strength on this journey.

  8. This is a completely brilliant soup and so…Edwardian! I just saw it today and despite the fact that Athens is boiling I made it tonight for dinner and I can tell you, it cooled everyone down. It’s magic, I don’t know how and why but it just did…!

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