Soup's On!

Ben sat at Grandma's kitchen table and traced the checkered squares of the tablecloth with his finger. Outside, prickly pine needle fingers tapped on the windows in the cold wind. The snowy landscape outside made the kitchen seem even cozier, but Ben was a bit bored. He often felt this way in January.

"Why don't you go outside and go sledding?" asked Grandma.

Ben vigorously shook his head like a shaggy sheepdog after a bath. His eyes were deep wells in the pale landscape of his small face. He had never been especially athletic, and he didn't like to get cold.

"No, Grandma, I'd like to do something inside," said Ben.

"Well, how about making some soup? I read in the newspaper today that January is soup month," said Grandma.

"Sure, that sounds good," said Ben. He hopped off his chair and went over to a cabinet. He grabbed a can of chicken noodle soup, and then he looked in a drawer for the can opener.

"Oh, I didn't mean canned soup," said Grandma. "I meant real homemade soup."

Ben considered this idea. He had always liked to cook because it didn't involve running, which inevitably led to uncomfortable gasping. Cooking also did not involve catching balls of any kind, which inevitably led to close encounters with the ground. His eye-hand coordination was not good, and he was terrified of sports. Mixing things in the kitchen always seemed much safer than the gym. His favorite movie was Ratatouille. The story of the rat with culinary talent made him wonder about being a chef when he grew up.

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