To make a great bowl of tomato soup, it takes some juicy tomatoes, the right ingredients and a reasonably short amount of time.
Even talking about straight from the can is enough to make you blow a fuse. At least it was Tuesday at the Lawton Family YMCA.
Lawton Public Library Community Engagement Librarian Tonya Organ and Associate Julia Chambers were using the library’s Charlie Cart to concoct the chilly day’s warm recipe as part of the Senior Time: Zesty Tomato Soup demonstration for seniors 65 and older.
As Chambers readied fresh basil for its inclusion in the day’s recipe, Organ shared elements of the day’s zesty tomato soup recipe while sharing that she’s on her first foray with it on this day.
“I’m not a cook, really, at home,” she said. “I do the easy stuff.”
As a can of no salt, diced tomatoes and jar of cut red peppers were plopped into the cart’s blender, you realize, maybe the ingredients aren’t all from the fresh produce section, but the spirit was there.
Organ readied to hit the button to bring the combination to a liquid state. Just at the moment the blend was reaching its ideal, a pulse was felt and the lights went out in the activity room. The blender had thrown the breaker switch, a first, according to Organ.
“We like to keep it fun,” she said without missing a beat. “It keeps you on the edge of your seats.”
As Jennifer Keener, YMCA Wellness Center representative, searched for the breaker box to flip the fuse, members of the audience began conversations and laughed a lot.
One of those in the audience brought it back to the momentary mishap.
“That’s a very secret recipe,” he said, “keeping us in the dark.”
Organ took a moment to share the background on the Charlie Cart. Containing its own set of cabinets, the aforementioned blender, and a burner for cooking, she said the cart came from a grant from the Charlie Cart Project.
The Charlie Cart Project was founded in 2015 by the former Director of the Edible Schoolyard Project and a team of educators and designers with the goal to create an affordable and comprehensive food education program. The result is an all-in-one program — a kitchen on wheels and a full curriculum with classroom-tested recipes — connecting the dots between food, health and the environment.
Organ said another presentation would be between 10 and 11 a.m. Saturday at the Lawton Public Library. This one would be for preparing healthy pancakes with berry sauce and the public is invited.
When the lights came back on, the ingredients were combined into a pot on the cart with Chambers stirring the pot. On a griddle off to the side, Keener was doing her part in creating the perfect accompaniment to tomato soup: grilled cheese sandwiches. When hearing a comment of, “This must be more fun than kettle bells,” she was quick with a response.
“No,” she said while slapping a cheesy slice onto a slice of bread. “Both are fun.”
Returning to Gaskins as he heartily scooped a spoonful of bright red soup from cup to his mouth for another taste following his first, he offered the words every chef wants to hear:
“Great secret recipe.”