Last week we celebrated the winter solstice and the darkest, shortest day of the year. Somehow I have glommed onto this day as an excuse to invite friends to supper. I like the practices that surround the solstice, the lighting of the Christmas tree and serving of food so to bring warmth and vitality into the house as cold takes root out-of-doors. Various culinary traditions suggest that we eat nuts, seeds, and legumes--all in the name of prosperity and fertility as we now move toward the light. In Chinese medicine the connection between these foods and fertility is not just symbolic. This is a diet designed to strengthen the kidney, the organ most directly responsible for reproduction and thus--good fortune.
I doubt there is room in this world for another lentil soup recipe--so rather than a detailed recipe I offer a tip--double the amount of onions used in your go-to soup recipe and be certain to brown them well--allowing them to almost burn as they caramelize and stick to the pan. Happy solstice, Merry Christmas, and a healthy New Year.
Frances Boswell is a licensed acupuncturist at her practice, Qi Sera Sera Acupuncture, in New York City. She focuses on a lesser-known branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine, which identifies poor diet as a common cause of disease. Traditional Chinese Medicine understands that the importance of food goes beyond ingredients' vitamins, mineral, nutrient and caloric content—food has its own energetic and spiritual role in our health. Frances' aim is to teach this ancient wisdom, apply it to everyday cooking, and work with patients to modify their diets, in addition to acupuncture, to help them live, eat, and be well. Contact Frances here.