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Mother Pockets' Zuppa Toscana

My favorite soup in the world is Mother Pockets’ Zuppa Toscana. You can’t get this soup just anywhere; in fact, you can kind of get it nowhere. Let me explain.

Mother Pockets is Mother Pockets' Soup Kitchen, and she does cooking demonstrations at the Kansas City Renaissance Festival. The soup is cooked over an open fire in a big iron kettle in Kansas City heat in the summer, and that alone would give this woman my admiration! Because of health code regulations, this soup cannot be sold, so she gives it away to the Renfest performers. I am not, nor have I ever been, a Renfest performer, but wearing a velvet Renaissance-style dress all day in Kansas City heat would be worth it to get some of this soup.

I met Mother Pockets under difficult and trying circumstances, when my mother was in the hospital for open-heart surgery to remove a large tumor from her heart. The prognosis was not good, and we were terrified of losing her. In the ICU waiting room was a woman named Pam that was there for her husband, also a heart surgery patient.

Pam brought in crock pots of wonderful soups several days to share with those of us that were in that waiting room, waiting to see what would be the outcome of difficult surgeries. Here she was, going through a frightening time of her own, and she tried to make it easier for others by sharing her talents.

One of these soups was Zuppa Toscana, and it was a most welcome treat that day. We were sick of mediocre cafeteria food, and we were afraid to leave the hospital in case of news about mom. Pam’s soup gave us all a much-needed lift in spirits. And if that were not enough, she shared her recipe, and then told us she was Mother Pockets, and about the RenFest, and how her husband, C. Wayne Owens, a commedian, and family were all involved. I feel very privileged to have met Pam, this generous woman who gave so much of herself when she was hurting like the rest of us.

Chicken Soup for the Soul? Bah. Not a chance. It is Mother Pockets’ Zuppa Toscana that fills that bill. God has a special place for people like Mother Pockets. Wherever you are, Pam, bless you and know that you made a rough time much easier for my father, me, and my siblings, and no doubt the others who shared the waiting room. And my mother? She got to meet Mother Pockets when she recovered, at least partially I’m sure, from the wonderful smell of Zuppa Toscana emanating from the ICU waiting room.


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©1995-2005 Sara Froehlich

Page updated on October 3, 2005