Thursday, June 13, 2013

Janine Soup

When I was little one of my favorite foods was Janine Soup.  It was green and mushy and yummy and had pieces of ham or bacon in it and it was glorious.  It wasn't until I was eleven or so, that I learned that "Janine Soup" was really "Split Pea Soup."  My mom would make it from scratch after we had ham for special occasions.

My dad and I would drive across the border to Bellingham to buy milk, gas, ham (or turkey) and pop.  Dad really liked Cherry Coke which you couldn't buy North of the border, so he would stock up on our little trips, while I would get Original Trident Gum which you couldn't get in Canada.  It tasted like their bubblegum (pink) and mint (blue) flavours had been smushed together into one gum, and for some reason I really liked it.

It's funny how memory can play tricks with you... I'm not sure how often we made these trips, but it seemed like we went at least once a month if not every couple of weeks.  We'd often stop at Denny's for lunch (The day my dad finally let me order my own meal instead of ordering me a corn dog which I HATED will always stand out in my memory.) We'd get ham for Easter, Mother's Day, Christmas, and a number of other special occasions, and there was always a batch of Janine Soup to look forward to the following week.  Our trips across the border became less frequent after mom found out that she had high cholesterol and had to stop eating red meat.  Sadly, the occurrences of Janine Soup became fewer and farther between as well.

This Easter we went to K's for dinner and had a delightful time watching little D completely ignore her Easter egg hunt in favor of an old ball in the backyard.  After our delicious dinner, K was wrapping up the ham bone to freeze until she returned from her vacation in sunny Hawaii, while we all started commenting on how we were each eager to stop by "to water the plants" while she was away, and should the ham bone mysteriously go missing from her freezer and one of us happened to make split pea soup, these things should be considered merely coincidental and IN NO WAY RELATED!

Apparently K decided that if the ham bone was still there when she returned from her vacation, she would get each of us a ham bone of our own.  It would seem that none of us carried through on our thinly veiled threats, so she bought ham hocks for each of us.  I picked up mine from its temporary home in my mom's freezer the other day and today I made my first ever pot of Janine Soup... erm... I mean, Split Pea Soup.  The whole place smelled yummy all afternoon and the kids upstairs and their Grandma Sim commented on the scents wafting upstairs.  Sim was awesome in giving me pointers about how low to set the temp as it simmered, and approved of the ingredients and method I used.  I haven't tried the soup yet, as it wasn't ready in time for supper, but it looks and smells just right!  While I know it's technically Split Pea Soup with Ham, it will always be Janine Soup to me.