Mr. Moretti, man of mystery, joined us for dinner tonight. Two bottles of this beer have lingered in the refrigerator for several months and it was time to drink it or toss it out. With left-over chili, a spinach and cucumber salad plus a cornbread souffle it made a simple and satisfying dinner on a rainy night.
The chili has been around for a week and we've dipped into the pot twice for dinner and once for lunch. I added a can of beans and some tomatoes tonight; the bottomless nature of these kind of dishes reminded of the Perpetual Peanut Soup that I ate for a year in Culver City. Freshly moved from Canada, we lived in a building full of immigrants; our immediate neighbors were two young Ghanaian students.
Peanut soup which involved a chicken, chicken broth, onion, tomatoes and peanut butter, was a staple of their diet and we soon came to love it. Their apartment was a 24 hour open house; the soup was always on simmer. It seemed to be both indestructible and never-ending because one or the other of the small cadre of us that lived on the stuff was always tossing more into the pot. We were an odd lot in that building - besides the Ghanaians, there was a couple from Budapest, a single French woman and a middle aged German mechanical engineer. All of us were new arrivals in the US and we bonded together like a little club.
Any time after six p.m. we would wander over to the soup kitchen with our bowls and spoons, ladle out a portion and eat it standing up in the kitchen or sitting around the pool. I remember lots of interesting conversation and laughter. The Ghanaians used to have great parties and taught me to dance - that hip swinging, slouchy kind of African dancing - I loved their music. They continued to be friends after we moved away but they returned to Ghana and we lost track of them.
I still think of them and the soup every time I see or eat peanut butter.