Dependency is good, when it is interdependence. When we are connected by a need that two parties fulfill, such as in the relationship between farmer and consumer, interdependence can shine. Whether is it the government buying surplus crop from a farmer or a woman purchasing corn from a produce stand to feed her family, consumer and farmer are dependent upon each other. This links us together. In this example, we are connected by a need for nourishment and sustenance. Interdependence is a link of unending dependence.
In the past several months, I’ve circled the idea of mutual dependency like a wolf circling its prey. It was both intriguing and confusing to me. It was intriguing because I didn’t actively embrace mutual reliances. (Yes, this is foolish.) It is not necessarily that I shun being dependent upon others, but my off-handed reaction was driven more by an uneducated indifference and a lack of awareness. My confusion was driven by its application in some meditation traditions.
When I think of dependency, my mind immediately bounces as quickly as a tennis ball bounces off of a racquet to codependency. Without skipping a beat, emotionally I begin to back away. So, I had to put in the time to retrain my mind that dependency can be something that is to be welcomed.
Now, I understand the vibe of mutual reliance can be virtuous. Going forward, I hope that I think more often of the farmer’s hands who planted all of the root vegetables in the soup my husband and I enjoy. Hands stained black with dirt and hard work as I saw at a dinner I recently attended honoring food and cooking. Or, I hope I remember that my favorite plant in the front yard was started by Rick in his nursery. Had he not started the plant from seed, I would not be able to enjoy looking at it everyday.
So, when is dependency good? It is good when a link of unending dependence answers mutual needs. If you are interested in reading more about this topic, as a starting point I suggest visiting The Interdependence Project at theidproject.org.
I keep coming back to this soup. I’ve made it at least twice in the past week. I’ve eaten it for dinner and lunch. While it is not pretty or fancy, it is just the sort of thing I crave in a soup. Tender, chunky vegetables that have retained a bit of bite. A good dose of onion, lots of beans, a grain, and a little bit of seasoning to pull it all together.
Cook’s Notes: *Vidalia green onions are typically found in markets the months of February, March, and early April. They have a large white bulb and are the length of leeks. I love them and use them for the months they are available in place of sweet onions. (If you cannot find them, simply substitute a sweet onion. I would not substitute the smaller, thinner green onion.)
Chunky Parsnip and Bean Soup
- 2 lg. or 3 small carrots, rinsed, diced, (peel on)
- 2 lg. or 3 small parsnips, rinsed, diced, (peel on)
- 2 lg. *Vidalia spring onions with green tops, rinsed, slice thinly including the green tops
- or 1 medium sweet onion
- 1 to 2 t. ground thyme
- 2 t. oregano
- 2 – 3 T. tomato paste
- 1 15 oz. can cannelini beans, rinsed, and drained
- 1 15 oz. can pinto beans, rinsed, and drained
- 4 + c. vegetable broth, preferably low-sodium and water as desired
- 2 + c. cooked brown rice
- salt to taste
- In a medium saucepan, cook 1 c. brown rice according to package directions. Set aside.
- In a large stockpot or dutch oven, heat 1 – 2 T. extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced carrots and parsnips with a pinch of salt. Cook the vegetables, stirring frequently as they begin to soften, about 8 or so minutes. Add the onion and continue to cook over medium heat about another 8 minutes, reducing the heat if necessary.
- When the vegetables are fork tender and the onion has become translucent, push the veg to the side and add 2 or 3 T. of tomato paste. Stir continuously as the paste loses its raw flavor, about 1 – 2 minutes.
- Add the spices. Stir continuously about 1 – 2 minutes to bloom the spices. Add 3 c. of broth, half of each dish of drained and rinsed beans, and half of the rice. Stir to combine. Now add the remaining broth, rice, and beans to your liking. Substitute 1 c. water for broth, if desired. (I ended up using about 2/3 of each can of beans, 2 1/2 c. of broth, 1c. of water, and 2 1/2 c. of the cooked rice.) Simmer for 5 or so minutes until the flavors begin to come together. Serve hot. Dress each bowl of soup with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, if desired.