Here was a good thing that happened yesterday: Garrison Keillor kicked off a new season of the Prairie Home Companion last night in St. Paul. Even though he had a stroke earlier this month, and spent some time in the Mayo clinic, he's back in action. For this I am grateful. I turned on the show while driving back from the grocery store, and continued to listen as I started supper. I don't know of anyone else who is doing what he does----live bands playing roots music, comedy sketches, story-telling...broadcast live on the radio. I was lucky enough to see his show a couple of years ago, when he broadcast from the Starlight Theater here in Kansas City--thanks to my dear friend Harriet, who provided the tickets. He did the whole thing from memory, out of his head. All those little skits his crew performs and the stories he tells--he uses no script for any of it. Just paces up and down the stage, holding the microphone. He has a guy who does all his sound effects - wears shoes around his neck for things like horses hooves.
I was making dumpling soup while I listened to the show yesterday. It was sunny, but there was just enough fall feeling in the air to make soup appealing. I have finally been getting my dumpling soup closer to tasting like Mom's. I use Campbell's Chicken and Rice soup, and canned chicken broth for my base, since I usually don't have fresh chicken broth sitting around, and I recently learned from her that you boil the dumplings separately in their own water. That might seem like a no-brainer, but it hadn't been obvious to me. No wonder my broth used to have kind of a mangy flavor. I add both milk and cream to finish the broth off. And so last night, for the second time in a row, I pulled off a reasonably good dumpling soup.
One more note about Garrison Keillor: Today I read that he says he might retire in a couple of years and have someone else host the show. It's hard to imagine anyone replacing him.