Thursday 30 October 2008

Are You Curious?

"Develop some intellectual curiosity. If you have it, you will never be bored. if you haven't, cultivate it, hold fast to it. Never let it go. To the intellectually curious, the world will always be full of magic, full of wonder. You will be interesting to your friends, to your spouse, and a joy to your children. You will be alive to all of the possibilities of this world."
~Marjorie Pay Hinckley

I came across these words this morning and they made me think. Do I have any intellectual curiosity? What is intellectual curiosity?

1.appealing to or engaging the intellect: intellectual pursuits.

–noun, plural -ties.
1.the desire to learn or know about anything; inquisitiveness.

I've always been that type of person I am happy to say! I have always been the kind of person who wanted to know what made things tick or why certain things or people did and do the things they do. I like to take things apart and see what's inside. I don't always know how to put them back together . . . which an entirely different story (for some odd reason I always end up with extra parts!) . . . but I have always gained a deep satisfaction in knowing what's inside and how it works. When the hoover stops working, I relish turning it upside down and tinkering to find out why and see if I can fix it. I want to know why some cakes rise and other's don't . . . what makes a gravy thick and what you can do to cook a tender piece of meat and how to make a tough piece of meat tender . . .

I love to stand outside and drink in my surroundings. I close my eyes and breathe in the air . . . every day has a different smell, quite unlike the day before and I love to stand still and identify it as being unique and mine to enjoy. Every sound a curiosity and a gift . . . if you are quiet enough you can hear the leaves singing as they fall to the ground, that soft quiet rustle in the undergrowth that tells you . . . you are not alone. I have tasted rain and I have tasted snow and I have felt the difference on my face between a sunny day in July and a sunny day in February . . . and I have been thankful for them both.

I have been a mother to the small and helpless, and reveled in their pure and loving embraces . . . those tiny arms winding themselves about you . . . that soft small head nestling in your neck . . . that love which is without guile and artifice. How very wonderful it is. How wonderful it is too, to be a mother to the teen with all of their angst and emotion, and to an adult and see them finding their way in the world in the best possible way . . . and to feel that you had a part in that wonderful journey and you have given the wings they need to fly . . . safe, strong, secure and loved.

I have made mistakes . . . and journeys of my own, both long and hard. I trust that in all my mistakes I have been able to take some lesson, some little gem of wisdom to help me in the future . . . or to help someone else and possibly prevent them from making the same mistakes . . .

The water bug, the bumbling bee, the dragon fly . . . I have been able to drink in their magic and wonder and see the world around me as something beautiful and treasured and a wonderful creation that is ours to enjoy.

I have felt the sorrow of despair and loss . . . and the joy of true importance, the wealth of all in this life that truly counts and all that is eternal.

I have been loved and I have loved and I love . . .

I am so blessed that I am the type of person that can be happy in almost every circumstance. I have started from nothing several times, and I know who it is that has helped to lift me up from every low place and who has helped to set my feet on higher ground . . . and I am prayerfully grateful for that help. May I ever be so . . .

I don't think being intellectually curious means that you read only intellectual books and papers, or that you watch only educational television and movies . . . I think it means that you take the time to explore all the things around you . . . the tastes . . . the smells . . . the sounds . . . the experiences . . . the feelings . . . and you embrace them for what they are, and make them your own, make them a part of who you are, and why you are, and how you are . . . and then you learn to share it with those around you, so that they can enjoy it all too . . . expanding this box we call life and filling it up with as much as we can . . . so that at the end of the day we can say we are satisfied and that we can hear those words . . . well done my child . . . well done.

Just my thoughts this morning . . .

OH, but it was cold here yesterday. You would have thought that winter had well and truly arrived!!! I know that quite a few places got snow, which is most unusual for this time of year over here. We were not so blessed, we only got the cold. It was soup weather and so I made a nice pot of French Onion soup to warm up our insides. Whenever I made onion soup I think of an old friend from my Uni days named Julia. She loved to cook and she introduced me to French Onion Soup . . . prior to Julia's tutelage, it had only ever been a picture in a magazine . . . she helped me to turn it into reality! Thanks Julia!

*French Onion Soup*
Serves 4 - 6

It's amazing what you can do with a few onions, a couple tins of broth and some cheese. What a magnificent dish to come from such humble beginnings . . . what a joy on a cold autumnal day.

50g butter
1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
3 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced (about 1.3 kg)
2 fat garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 TBS flour
1 litre of beef or chicken stock
600ml dry white wine or cider
1 fresh bay leaf
2 sprigs of thyme
1 french baguette (or other white bread) sliced
200 g freshly grated Gruyere cheese
4 TBS freshly grated Parmesan cheese
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the butter and oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once it begins to sizzle turn the heat down and add the onions. Cook the onions over very low heat, with out colouring, until soft, 15 to 20 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook, stirring for about a minute, then stir in the flour. Cook and stir for a minute longer. Add the stock, wine, bay leaf and thyme. Season to taste with salt and pepper and then bring to the boil. Boil for one minute, then reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. This is the type of soup that gets even better upon standing, so if you can wait . . . allow it to stand for about 30 minutes, then gently re-heat.

Just before serving, heat up the grill of your oven. (the broiler). Place the baguette slices on a large baking tray and brown them under the grill until lightly toasted. Remove from the oven and sprinkle half of the gruyere cheese evenly over all. Bang back under the grill just to melt. Remove from the grill and set aside.

Place half of the soup into heated soup bowls. Add the toasts and then ladle on the other half of the soup. Sprinkle the remainder of the grated gruyere evenly over each along with a TBS of grated parmesan cheese. If you like you can place this under the grill again to melt a bit more, but it's not necessary. The heat of the soup will melt the cheese if it's good and hot as it should be. Serve immediately.


  1. A great post Marie! Love the soup. I could eat a bowl of that right now (8am) bit early but it looks so yummy.

  2. Yes indeed, I hope we learn something from the mistakes we make along the way. I like avoiding mistakes if possible, but drat, I guess I have to keep learning! The soup is one of my favs.

  3. We didnt get snow in our part of London - although when we watched the news we saw heavy snow outside the BBC television centre!
    We did have the freeezing temperatures though and a warming soup like yours looks perfect :)

  4. This is a beautiful post, Marie and you are a beautiful person. :)

  5. I am incredibly curious. Too curious for my own good. Right now, I'm curious about that soup!

  6. Marie-you have such a wonderful way with words. And you give such a unique insight into your heart and soul through them.

    I am a firm believer in that mistakes are set before us as learning experiences-something that we use to learn from and lift us up to the next level. Not to mention they add that dash of excitement we need to spice up the day to day, you know?!

    And French onion soup...oh Marie. As a girl who grew up in the snowbelt of Western NY now living in Florida, when we have cold days I always turn to those comfort foods. I think FOS is in order soon. I'd make it tonight if I'd only had a bit of Gruyere and some good crusty bread. I did make a pot roast last night that definitely hit the spot and warmed me up body & soul.

  7. I so agree with the quote. If you never quit learning you will always be surprised! My mother in law isn't the least bit curious (not sure she ever was) anymore. It's sad really.

  8. i love how you said you love to "drink in your surroundings." thats something i love about your posts-the details you give about your environment make me feel like i'm there with you!

  9. Another great post for sure! I love your curious mind! Do I have one? Oh yes! And doesn't it make life so much more interesting? I just love meeting and chatting with new people...finding out all sorts of facts about them. My husband says I would even chat up a storm with the devil...but I tell him if that were ever to happen, the devil himself would soon leave me and go find a person he could influence because he wouldn't be able to sway me and he would know it!

    My Mom, who will be 93 this Sunday, always had a curious mind and still does! Like you, she would turn her Hoover upside down and get it working once more! She has even been known to repair lamps!

    Always such wisdom in your posts...what an amazing woman you are! I am positive you are greatly loved and adored by all who know you! I do wish you were able to see your family more often as I know you miss each of them greatly.

    The soup...I've never seen a recipe where you add cider...that must be a delicious onion soup! Writing this recipe down so I can make it...we have fresh cider available in the farmer's markets as well as in the grocery chains now. Mom always loves this soup...I should make some and take to her at her assisted living!

  10. Lovely post!

    FOS is my very favorite thing to eat in the Fall. Or anytime, really. I may just have to make some tonight!

  11. If I were a cat, I'd probably be dead from all my curiousity. It's isn't about being high brow, or low brow, or 'studying' books. I'll slink on the ground following an ant just to see where it's off to. Curiosity keeps my mind clicking along and that makes me happy.
    A beautiful post my friend~~

  12. I sometimes wish my students were a little more intellectually curious! Lovely soup, now I'm curious to taste it!

  13. Marie, I have really enjoyed reading your blog and listening to your music. I was blog surfing and ran across it. I love the way you write and how you express the way you feel. I also love all of the recipes and can't wait to try them out. Please come and visit sometimes.
    Nice to meet you,Lee Laurie

  14. This looks so comforting Marie, just what we need this time of year.

  15. Loved your post today. You do have a curious mid and I love hearing about your observations and insights. That soup looks warm and scrumptious. One of my favorite kinds too! I hope you are having a great day!

  16. Marie Im back!!!!! Thanks for ask dear.!! I love the post and the soup. look lovely!!! (Me and the childs eat soup in summer too!)) huggss! Gloria


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