When I think of Earth Day, I think more about how I was raised instead of an event marked on a calendar that occurs once a year. I guess my mother was green before her time simply because she needed to be frugal with her earnings. But that’s not all. Her common sense was what was really at work. If you’re a single mother who works split shifts and have three children under the age of six, you put all of them in the tub at the same time and teach them that the water cannot rise above their belly buttons. Absolutely no showers, ever. You rinse your two girls’ very long hair with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar mixed with water they wished was warm instead of shockingly cold. You nag your children incessantly until they understand that lights are turned off when not in use and that electricity costs money — which sadly does not grow on trees. You make your children’s clothes, and as much as your younger daughter may not love the idea, pass the older daughter’s clothes down once outgrown. You make shorts from cut off pants, either outgrown, or made possible by knees that have worn through. You purchase less of everything and teach them how to take care of what they have, because if they don’t, they’re not getting anything new. You make popsicles from koolaid poured into ice cube trays and dole them out over a few days like they were gold nuggets. You remind them to bring home from school each day, not only the brown bag their lunch was in, but the baggies their chips and sandwiches were stuffed in to. You teach them to clean their plates at meals, and never, ever to waste food. Ever. Or else.
And you teach them how to eat their vegetables — especially the green ones.
In celebration of Earth Day and smart, frugal moms everywhere who were green long before it was the cool thing to do, this soup is for you. It’s healthy, and made with a bit of this, and a bit of that from my vegetable drawer.