I grew up surrounded by books. I was part of a family of voracious readers and books lived in stacks on available surfaces everywhere in the house. While I almost never got toys during outings to stores, I could pretty much always count on my parents shelling out for books and I tore through them. Hey, I was shy and books were a wonderful escape from the problems of my adolescent world. As an adult, they are great for avoiding talking to those with whom you’d rather not engage. It’s like the international sign of “leave me alone.” And if someone feels the need to interrupt you, you can then glare at him or her and be perfectly justified about it. But I digress.
I was thinking about the books stacked all over the house, because I was home last weekend and did a little digging through some of the books hidden in boxes, on the shelves in my brother’s room and in the cedar closet. And I came across one of the etiquette books I had as a child. That’s right, I had not one, not two, but three children’s etiquette books. Apparently I didn’t absorb enough of the lessons contained therein, because my dad gave me another etiquette book a few years ago for Christmas. I guess some causes are hopeless.
The book I triumphantly pulled from a box otherwise filled with numerous volumes of The Baby-Sitter’s Club and Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys crossover novels was Soup Should be Seen and Not Heard! The Kids’ Etiquette Book by Beth Brainard and Sheila Behr. I was flipping through it as I slurped my chilled pea soup (therein violating the basic premise of the book) and came across a few gems that I want to share with you now.
1. When introducing people you say (a) an adult’s name before a child’s, (b) say a woman’s name before a man’s, (c) say a girl’s name before a boy’s, and (d) say an older person’s name before a younger persons. So, giving this an order of operations, you would introduce an adult woman, then an adult man, then a young girl, then a young boy. No idea why you introduce women first.
2. “When you are introduced to someone, don’t just stand and stare at each other. Think of something to say.” Yeah, sorry. I still struggle with this. I am well acquainted with the post-introduction awkward silence.
3. This book talks about how to properly make a collect call. That’s adorable. And pretty much only of use anymore if one is calling from jail.
4. Several pages are devoted to the proper use of a fingerbowl. Have any of you ever attended a dinner where a fingerbowl was present? I haven’t.
5. “Remember, always pass the salt and pepper shakers together.” This was a big one in my house, for some reason. I still think of them as a single unit and keep them together, except in college when I could get a rise out of my friend by separating them on the table. His parents had sent him to what I deemed “manners camp” and he got really agitated if the two shakers parted. So much fun.
6. When writing letters, “keep a dictionary handy. Spell words correctly.” You have no idea how many people to whom I’ve wanted to pass along that tidbit in my professional life.
7. “Girls – don’t giggle and act silly in front of boys.” I’m starting to grit my teeth. “Boys – don’t show off and act tough in front of girls.” Okay, I have to keep in mind that this was written in 1988, but really? Did that have to be gender specific? Does this mean I can show off and act tough in front of anyone I please because I’m a girl? Can I giggle and act silly in front of other girls? Do boys never giggle and act silly? <expletive grumble grumble expletive>
8. While number 7 really gets my hackles up, I have to admit that I’m with the book on this one: “Don’t chomp or pop your chewing gum. No one should even know it’s in your mouth.” Thank you. Gum smacking sounds gross and is a pet peeve of mine. Also, I’m going to add to this one. Places where it’s never appropriate to chew gum: (a) in court. Seriously. Stop. (b) at funerals. I’m not even kidding. (c) during class. (d) during nap/quiet time/rest hour. I could hear you, my little campers, and it made me nuts, and (e) anytime you’re onstage, on camera or other similar situation. There are many more, but you get the point.
Now, having brushed up on my children’s etiquette, maybe I’ll crack open the etiquette book for adults one of these days. It’s British, so maybe they’ll be some fun tidbits on addressing all the royalty I’ll never meet.
- 1 lb Frozen Peas
- 4 slices Prosciutto
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- ½ C chopped Onion
- ½ tsp Curry Powder
- 2 ½ C Chicken Stock
- ½ tsp Kosher Salt, plus a pinch
- ¼ tsp Black Pepper
- 1 Tbsp Mint Leaves
- 1 tsp Lemon Juice
- ¼ ripe Avocado
- ¼ C Greek Yogurt, plain
- Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and add the frozen peas. Dunk the peas in the hot water for 1 to 2 minutes - until thawed and hot. Strain the peas out of the water and set them aside.
- Heat the prosciutto over low heat in a frying pan to render out the fat and then raise the heat to medium, cooking the prosciutto until crispy. Remove the prosciutto and set aside for later.
- Add the olive oil to the rendered prosciutto fat. Once the oil is hot, add the chopped onions and a pinch of salt and cook until the onions are very soft and start to gain a little golden color - about ten minutes.
- Add the curry powder to the onions and cook for another 30 seconds or until the spices begin to get fragrant.
- Remove the onions from the pan, making sure to scrape it clean to get all of the curry and oil, and add the curried onions to a blender, along with the peas, 2 cups of chicken stock, salt, pepper, mint leaves and lemon juice.
- Blend the ingredients, starting at a low speed because the peas and onions may be warm enough to generate some steam. Slowly turn the speed up to high and blend until smooth.
- Pour the soup through a strainer or chinois to get out any chunky bits, feel free to use a spatula or similar device to help it along. Rinse out the blender to get rid of any residual chunky bits in there.
- Return the soup to the blender and add the avocado and yogurt. Blend until the avocado and yogurt have been fully integrated and the soup is smooth once more.
- Add the remaining chicken stock a little at a time to thin out the soup until you reach a consistency you like.
- Chill in the refrigerator until cold, then cut up the reserved prosciutto and and use it to garnish the soup when serving.
If this recipe had you licking the bowl, you may want to slurp* up some of the following:
Chilled Tomato Soup with Tabasco Granita | Peaches Please
Roasted Broccoli Soup with Cashews | Peaches Please
Cold Roasted Red Pepper Soup | Cook the Story
Chilled Mango Raspberry Soup | It’s Yummi
Chilled Zucchini, Walnut and Basil Soup | Aida Mollenkamp