Onion Soup by B.R. Hostetter

March 26, 2012 Comments Off on Onion Soup by B.R. Hostetter

Catherine will leave you, you’re sure. She insists she won’t, but you don’t believe it. She tells you you’re emotionally unavailable, that you can’t cry. You don’t know what to tell her, so you say, “Sit.”

“Why am I sitting?”

“I have a surprise for you.”

“What kind of surprise?”

“You’ll have to wait and see.”

“Oh, you know I don’t like surprises.”

“This you’ll like.”

“But Jeremy—”

“Just sit, okay.”

“I don’t know why, but okay.”

In the kitchen, you have six onions, olive oil, sugar, two cloves of garlic (minced), chicken stock (not beef), a cup of dry vermouth (because you prefer it over dry white wine), a bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper, eight slices of toasted French bread, and grated Parmesan Cheese.

“You’re still there, aren’t you?”

“I am,” she says.

“I’ll only be a little while.”

“Jeremy, you know I have little patience.”

“I know, but please—”

In a large saucepan you sauté the onions in the olive oil until well browned (not burned); you do this for thirty minutes (no longer or else you’ve ruined it).

I’m in here loving you,” you say.

“What?”

You shuffle a pot and a pan.

“What? I didn’t hear you,” she aks.

“Almost done,” you reply.

“I’m getting tired, Jeremy.”

“I know. I know. Just a little bit longer.”

You add sugar; carmelization it’s called. You add garlic and sauté for another minute. You add your stock, vermouth, bay leaf, and thyme. You partially cover the pan and simmer. You want your flavors to blend just right; this takes about thirty minutes. You’re sweating.

“Still there?”

“Not for long. You’re taking forever.”

“Please, Catherine, another couple of minutes.”

You season to taste with your salt and pepper. You toss in the bay leaf; you do this because the recipe says so. To serve you pull out a large bowl and then two smaller bowls. You ladle the soup into the two bowls. You cover each with sliced French bread and then Parmesan cheese. You broil the two until the cheese bubbles and is slightly brown.

“I’m leaving,” you hear.

“No wait,” you say.

“Jeremy, I’ve had enough. What are you doing in there?”

You pull out your last onion because the first did nothing. You slice it more and more, but nothing. Sweat pours from your forehead.

“Jeremy, I can’t wait any longer.”

You chop and you chop, but the onion does nothing.

“Okay,” you say. “I’m coming.”

You set the two bowls down.

“I made you soup,” you say.

“Jeremy, you’re crying.”

“No,” you say. “It’s only sweat.”

© 2012 B.R. Hostetter

Ben received his Ba in English from Virginia Commonwealth University. He lives in Charlottesville, VA, where he writes everyday with his cat, Copernicus.

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