Dorie’s recipe for cheese-topped onion soup says you have to be patient while waiting for the onions to brown. Patience is one of those things that it is easy to have in abundance at the front end, but much harder to sustain at the back end of any endeavor. I chopped a ton of onions, or so it seemed, and I thought there was no way I needed that many. I put them in the pot, turned it on low, and settled in with my Proseco and blood orange for the wait.
While I waited, I thought about patience. I fully expected, since I started early on the recipe, that I would have the patience to see it through, to wait the hour or more that Dorie predicted in order to produce the most savory onion soup possible. Slowly simmering the onions got me thinking about the event that most challenged my patience, creating a family.
EE often says of our decision to adopt Monkey Man and Gorilla Girl from Vietnam that it was sort of like changing lines in the grocery store. We had done lots and lots of work on the front end, talking, making decisions, and submitting the tons of paperwork required for an international adoption. Doing all that work on the front end was challenging, but it seemed like we were busy, productively working toward the goal of adopting. But, once everything was submitted, the wait began, and it was harder than I anticipated. Waiting without a clear end in sight is hard, if not impossible.
It was fortuitous when our social worker explained to us, after we once again resubmitted our paperwork to remain eligible to adopt — the wait was so prolonged that our approvals might have run out otherwise — that adoptions had just re-opened in Vietnam, and we could try to adopt a child from Vietnam, perhaps truncating the wait. We’d originally planned to adopt from China, but the wait time, and the politics of adoption in China, had exploded just after we made our decision.
Obviously, no one waits in supermarket lines for years, and in some ways the analogy is a silly one, but we had begun to wonder if our referral would ever come when we decided that Vietnam might hold an answer for us. Our patience ran out at precisely the right moment, because Monkey Man and Gorilla Girl helped us make our family, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. They were absolutely worth waiting for.
For the first hour of onion cooking, as I contemplated the one big wait of my life for GG and MM, my patience held. During the second hour of simmering, my patience began to wear, and I kept checking the onions, super soft and tender by now, but still fully white, with not a hint of browning. I did turn up the heat a bit, and continued to stir, while hoping that the onions would do something. I was a bit distracted by KK and RS who came by with Sunday afternoon drinks of their own when EE told them I was in the kitchen cooking and drinking, and that I might need some company. It was a good distraction, and soon enough, my onions were turning. However, when I finally dumped in the white wine and chicken broth, I was probably still a bit early, my impatience rearing its head once again.
I’ll have to remember that next time. The thing is, though, that once I topped the soup with this toasty homemade french bread and gruyère cheese under the broiler, the soup was tasty, and perfect on a chilly winter evening.
Once again, my lack of patience got the best of me, but once again, the soup, though not perfect, was passable, even tasty on the left over circuit a day later.