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Dear Diary,

I am soooo psyched to be going home for the holidays. We’re about to land, so the flight attendant has asked us to fasten our seatbelts and put our tray tables up. The pilot is flying low so we can get a good look at Souplandia. Practically every home in Souplandia has a pool of soup in its backyard. Looking out the window, I can see the checkerboard suburban landscape with neighborhoods of different soups.

There’s the Minestrone neighborhood, where each family has its own recipe—the Pellegrinis like beans in theirs, and the Genovese family adds pesto. There’s the Golden Dragon district, with baby pools of egg-drop and wonton. The French consulate has a rooftop pool of vichyssoise; the African embassy, a hot tub full of peanut soup. Then there’s the community pool of healthy broth. And of course, I’m from Bean Town, where all the pools are kidney-shaped and loaded with protein.

I loved my first year at college, but I have been homesick, so it’s comforting to come back to Souplandia. Here, the streets and businesses are totally empty at dinnertime, as everyone goes home to eat together. The people here are so mellow and nice—probably from eating all that soup. And fit! Mom calls it “svelte.” Gotta close now, I can see the city’s gateway arch with the motto, “Welcome to Souplandia—Where Soup is a Meal in Itself.” It’s good to be home.

P.S. Here’s a little tip from Bean Town on how to prepare dried beans:

  • Sort beans and discard discolored or shriveled beans or any foreign matter, and rinse.
  • Bring 1lb of beans and 10 cups of water to a boil for 3 minutes, cover, and set aside overnight.
  • To cook: drain, rinse, and return beans to pot, adding three cups of water for each cup of soaked beans.
  • Add herbs and spices at this point, but not salt or acidic ingredients such as tomatoes, which slow cooking (these may be added at the end of cooking).
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer uncovered until tender, 45 to 90 minutes, checking periodically.
    When done, drain and use in soups, salads, and other recipes.

P.P.S. Store uncooked dry beans in a glass jar or plastic bag in the cupboard, not the fridge.


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