ZEN IN THE KITCHEN: Silence, Susan Boyle and SoupA quiet kitchen this morning. The man of the house has gone off to build a tool shed with a favourite son-in-law. Early morning sun streams through many windows, creating vivid patterns on oak floors. Cold outside, warm inside, a good day for making soup.

Susan Boyle will accompany me this morning on a chosen CD. She will reach for and conquer the extraordinary high notes of “I Dreamed A Dream” from Les Miserables, and I will thrill all over again to that melodic powerful voice.

Today’s turkey soup recipe comes from a 1996 edition of Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book. I think of it as a fairly new resource, although my daughters might say it should be updated.

To me, 1996 was only last year, perhaps the year before.

Outside the pond is crystal clear, washed clean by the recent torrential rains of Hurricane Sandy. Summer lily pads are submerged, weeds beaten down. Familiar wildlife has found somewhere else to be on this frosty morning.

Soup ingredients meld together in deep fragrance, steaming kitchen windows. The pot simmers and now Susan is all done singing her heart out. This quiet, this total absence of sound, blesses an ordinary pot of turkey frame soup.


Patricia Sullivan and her husband retired to a small house on a pond in North Billerica, MA. Her essays have been published in The Boston Globe, a Love After Seventy anthology, and Still Crazy Magazine, among others. She first came to the idea of mindfulness through the work of Jon Kabat Zinn and his book Wherever You Go There You Are.