Warming trend on Wednesdays

by Betty Wrenn Day - Posted on Jan 25, 2012 - 04:52 PM

Photo: Soup cooks at Peninsula Heating and Air, Gloucester, include seven women and Peggy Knight, who is not a staff member but is represented by her husband. From left are Karen Smith, Terri Joyce, Sharon Martin, Hattie Reed, Christine Calhoun, Russell Knight, Cindy Wheeler, Faye Gibson and Christine Joyce.

Soup cooks at Peninsula Heating and Air, Gloucester, include seven women and Peggy Knight, who is not a staff member but is represented by her husband. From left are Karen Smith, Terri Joyce, Sharon Martin, Hattie Reed, Christine Calhoun, Russell Knight, Cindy Wheeler, Faye Gibson and Christine Joyce.

Soup is considered by most historians to be as old as cooking. In times when food was scarce, dumping various ingredients into a pot to boil was not only cheap but filling, too. The act of combining various ingredients to create nutritious, filling, easily digested, simple to make/serve food was inevitable. Soup’s simple constitution made it accessible to both rich and poor. And soup was a perfect choice for both sedentary and traveling cultures. What mother, Jewish or not, hasn’t counted on chicken soup for healing the soul as well as the body?

The ladies of PHA (all staff members at Peninsula Heating and Air in Gloucester with the exception of one; her husband is a staff member and she graciously participates) began a tradition last November suggested by Cindy Wheeler, and it has continued into the new year. Each Wednesday is Soup Day and there will be either cornbread or rolls to go with it.

The soup cook of the day, arriving at work, first steps into the kitchen, deposits her slow cooker, plugs it in and then goes back to her office duties. As the hands of the clock tick away and work progresses, so does the aroma from that kitchen, and it becomes most tantalizing. By 11 a.m. the first lunch break begins as one or two bowls are filled. "We do not all eat at the same time, but surely try not to be the last. There’s one thing for sure—at the end of the day, the soup pot is completely empty. There are about 15 of us who get to dine on the soup. No one wants to miss work on Wednesdays."