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“Dear Friend” or “To Soup, With Love”

JOE (V.O.)
I am in Vancouver.

He stops… Hits the delete button and erases the message.
He starts typing again:

JOE (V.O.)
I was stuck in a meeting, which I
couldn’t get out of it, and there was
no phone.

He backspaces to erase “there was no phone.”

Screen now reads: I was stuck in a meeting, which I couldn’t
get out of it. Joe sits there thinking for a moment. Then he
starts typing.

JOE (V.O., cont’d)
The electricity went out in the building
and we were trapped on the 18th floor and
the telephone system blew too.

He stops and looks at it. Then he types:

JOE (V.O., cont’d)
Amazingly enough.

He sits looking at it.

Then he deletes the whole thing.

Sits looking at the blank screen.

Excerpt from 

You’ve Got Mail

by Nora Ephron & Delia Ephron

Based on:
The Shop Around The corner

by Nikolaus Laszlo
2nd Final White revised
February 2, 1998

I have lost count the number of times I have watched You’ve Got Mail. And the number of times I think of that scene with Tom Hanks trying to explain himself. Deleting the keys (two finger typing style) and then making a mawkish expression at his dog who is very much #judgingyourightnow. I have been Joe for the last, oh, however long it has been. I had drafted a whole bunch of things but stopped short of posting until now. I won’t go on much further in case I delete everything and am back to staring at a blank screen. But this is where I am today. Here I am, enjoying the familiar.

Catching up on laundry. Staring at these printable daily organisation template thingys on Pinterest. Wondering who prints all this out? And then uses them everyday? Wondering how people have it so together they can organise their Pinterest boards so neatly. Getting up every hour or so to stretch my back out on my yoga mat. In my bathrobe. Trying to remember if I took my vitamins this morning or if that was yesterday morning. Scratching my head over a Sudoku puzzle that just has me stumped. Scooping minestrone-ish rice soup into a bowl. Ah, the soup. Now, that’s good stuff. When my youngest brother was in preschool, I would pick him up after school and walk him home. He told me on one of these walks that his favourite morning tea snack was tomato sauce and rice, all for 40 cents from the tuck shop. I remember being his age and loving tomato sauce with rice as well. Tomato flavoured anything. I still remember the look of bemusement that flitted across my father’s face as he watched me merrily dousing my fried rice in tomato sauce. There was an Italian restaurant that my family frequented when I was little. An entire wall was covered with hooks and resting on each hook was a two handled stoneware soup bowl. My memory leads me to remember that each bowl had a name emblazoned across it, or perhaps just under the hook, only for the most regular of customers although my mind stops short of deluding me into thinking that I had one with my own name on it. Although considering I drank enough minestrone in that place…

I still love minestrone but perhaps times have changed. It never tastes quite the same as when I used to scoop it out from that scratchy stoneware bowl, always trying not to scrape the bottom, but unable not to, whilst my parents exchange greetings with the owner as he brings out the chianti.

Minestrone-ish Rice Soup to eat in your bathrobe

You need (the quantities are guessed, I will tell you now that I am absolutely terrible at estimating):

Passata, say 500ml or a tin or two of tomatoes, whatever you have

Knob of butter (or not)

Splash of cooking oil (I use coconut oil but olive oil is good too)

Spring onion, a stem, chopped, or an onion, chopped

Carrot, one or two, chopped

Potato, one or two, chopped, if you have any (or none at all)

One cup of rice, rinsed

Your choice of greens, rinsed to hurl in at the end

Basil, oregano, parsley – fresh or dried

black pepper

teaspoon of sugar (only as needed to counter the acidity of the tomatoes, I used coconut sugar)

Vegetable stock cube + 500ml or vegetable stock, 500ml

Method: 

Hurl butter into a hot saucepan with the oil so the butter does not burn.

Add the chopped carrots and onion in. If you wish you can sprinkle a little salt on the onion so that it does not burn but if you stir diligently you will be safe.

Sauté for 5 minutes or so then add the potato if you have any. 

A few more minutes and then in with the passata/tomato situation that is available to you. Be prepared for splattering. Add the water or stock (lucky you!). I had a half bottle of passata so I just filled it with water to get the last dregs of red pulp out into the pan. Bring to a boil. Throw in stock cube, pepper, sprinkle in dried herbs if using them. In with the rice.

In the end the sugar was needed so that went in as well. You may or may not need salt, I didn’t. Then simmer until the rice is soft. I like my greens just, just done so I turned off the heat and then stirred in English spinach. 

Chuck on the fresh herbs if you have any and black pepper. Dash of butter or olive oil on top if you’re feeling fancy/indulgent. 

Eat in bathrobe. Scrape the bottom of the bowl to hearts content. Avoid staining fuzzy socks.

Hours later, discover bathrobe needs to be soaked.

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