I like it when it rains. I really do. It reminds me of my hometown in Chile. When I was a kid and I did my homework sitting at the dining table next to a kerosene heater. It’d be 4 or 5 PM, but it’d be dark, and I’d need to turn on the lights to be able to see my books without risking losing my eyesight before graduating from high school. Outside, the pouring rain would veil the view of the green hill that was nearby and its bell tower. The buildings around would disappear in the fog, and I would quickly feel that the room was floating in the sky.
I’d keep doing my homework and mom would be in the kitchen making sopaipillas, calzones rotos or picarones. From time to time, I’d get up and go into the kitchen to take a peek with the hopes of getting a bite of whatever I could get. On the way to the kitchen, I’d avoid getting too close to the huge windows that would wobble in their frames allowing the wind to whistle through any small opening. I remember this, and I can’t help it but feel like I was in a Ghibli movie. If I were any good at drawing, that’s how I’d like to render this memory.
I grew up believing that there wasn’t a rainier place on Earth.
I was wrong.
In 2007 I moved to Taipei, Taiwan, and I soon learned that the rainstorms I experienced before were nothing compared to the thunderstorms and typhoons that “colored” my days while living there.
When I was about to leave Taiwan in 2014 I sort of made a list f things I thought I would miss from my life in Taipei. At that moment, I had no clue whatsoever about where I’d end up living next, but the rainstorms had a place on that mental list I created.
I was right.
Fast forward to 2016. I’m living in Madrid, Spain, where it barely rains, and I find myself longing for a real rainstorm, one that would push me out of my bed and out onto the streets just for the sake of looking for adventures under the rain. One that would make me want to prepare hot soups and some fatty, sweet recipes. One that would make me want to fry some sopaipillas.
It’s Sunday. And it’s raining. And although it’s very light, I’me very grateful for it. The air and the streets will get clean, and the struggling plants I have on the balcony will be happy. Matsu will enjoy her afternoon walk in the park, because of all the new smells that come out of the soil when it rains. She will probably play in some puddles too.
I’m grateful too because I’m not cooking today. My mom is here and she is in the kitchen making some marvelous lunch. I will, however, share my miso soup recipe, a soup that is as good and comforting as our childhood memories.
1.2 l. water
1 kombu strip
2 sheets of nori
200 gr. soft tofu
100 gr. shiro miso
3-4 spring onions
Fill a pot with 1.2 l. of cold water and soak the kombu strip for half an hour. In the meantime, finely slice the green onions, cut the nori with scissors into small squares or rectangles, and cut the tofu into small squares. Peel and chop the carrot and the onion.
Bring the pot to a boil and cook for a couple of minutes. Remove the kombu. Add the carrot and onion pieces to the pot and cook for 15-20 minutes. Remove them from the pot.
Add the tofu to the pot and bring to a boil. Cook for a couple of minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat. Scoop some broth with a ladle and dissolve the miso in it. Pour it back in the pot and mix well.
Serve with some pieces of nori and sprinkle some green onions on top.