The weather outside is starting to get warmer, and I thought I’d share this recipe with you so you can enjoy it before it gets too hot and what you’re really craving is a cool, crisp salad instead of a hearty bowl of warmth. My brother, when he was little, used to call this ‘love soup’ and he used to make it for me whenever I was sick or feeling a bit down—he’s younger than me, but this recipe is so simple he was able to whip it up when he was 9 or 10 years old.
It’s a recipe of my Teta’s, my grandmother from my dad’s side, and it’s a very traditional Egyptian way to make red lentil soup. My Teta is a wonderful cook—some of the fondest memories I have of my childhood are of meals with her. When I was in preschool, she used to pick me up at the end of the day (both my parents worked) and she used to prepare me feasts, ones that we would share in the simplest but most memorable of settings. One of my favorite things that we would eat together was a ringa—a smoked haddock—that she would serve simply with some lemon wedges, sliced onions, and grainy flatbread. She would lay out old newspaper on the floor by the balcony doors in her study, and we would share this meal together. Even at that young age, eating smelly fish and onions was awesome because it was such a special treat that I got to share with my Teta.
Now, my Teta is one cool lady—she has old-fashioned movie star looks, and is super-glamorous. She wears bright scarves and accessories and clothes that she designs herself. When I was little and could barely see the tops of the kitchen counters, she had the patience to teach me, along with my mother, how to cook, and the importance of sitting down and sharing a meal with family and friends, and even strangers. So this little recipe here is a tribute to her—I’ve adapted it ever so slightly, but it’s still pretty true to the original.
I hope you love it as much as I do.