Photography by Tracey Creed
Assisted by Amandine Paniagua
Recipe by Amandine Paniagua and Tracey Creed
Words by Tracey Creed
Published May 16 2019
Updated June 10 2021
In a large pot melt the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and let cook about two minutes, careful not to brown.
Add the kumara, pumpkin, millet, ginger, curry powder, filtered water and vegetable stock. Bring to a gentle boil and cook for 20-25 minutes until kumara is tender. Cool to room temperature before transferring to your blender.
In 2-3 batches blend the soup in equal parts with coconut milk. Adjust seasoning to taste at this point.
To achieve a thinner consistency, use additional vegetable stock. Transfer soup to bowls and serve immediately.
Leftovers will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge, for those nights you do not feel like cooking. Herein lies the solution, reheat on the stove top for 10 to 15 minutes.
This coconut kumara and pumpkin soup with toasted millet is good simple comfort food, perfect for keeping, for freezing. It’s for rainy days or long days, of which the best evening meals are already prepared. It is almost that time. Winter. This recipe was originally part of a series of soups I made and photographed for I AM Company, eaten later that night with friends since the recipe easily doubled and would be ready in less than an hour. I had resolved to eat the leftovers over the next day or so, there were no leftovers and I loved the soup that much I made it again later that week, made it several times since. What is wonderful about this soup is how simple ingredients can so easily be transformed into something so nourishing, delicious, better than I thought it would be.
This soup is so simple. The cooking time is under a half hour, then you blend for five and you’re done. Any blender would do, though if you have one, or have been thinking of buying one a Vitamix will do it faster and better. I convinced my partner to go halves with me on the Vitamix Professional Series 750, rationalising the decision by explaining that a Vitamix is not a blender, it is a ‘total nutrition centre’; that this was an investment in our relationship. This was some time back when I had started to understand more deeply that climate change, human rights, waste, other issues were interconnected and that regardless of labels we all interact within this economic system, that there is implied accountability for what we choose to support, literally, financially.
Given the current climate, throwaway culture and ten dollar tee shirts, it is not difficult to understand how people would quickly dismiss the notion of spending over a thousand dollars on a blender. I did initially. Most of the product reviews headline with a variation on ‘‘why did I wait so long?”. Yes, the price but sustainability starts at the design stage. Design helped establish the immensely wasteful way products are manufactured, consumed, and discarded today. And it is difficult to have a conversation with regards to overconsumption and waste without discussing access and price - both of which impact how we value items, or not. If you are prepared to abandon your tent at Splore, you probably did not pay enough for it.
There is a growing sense that industry must transition from a linear economy to a circular one. A circular economy is a model in which resources are kept in use for as long as possible; maximum value is extracted from them, while materials and energy are recovered or recycled as much as possible at the end of any product’s life. This is a seismic shift in thinking and yet just over a century ago, “disposable” referred to low-cost products such as razors and paper napkins, the later of which millennials are killing. Our current attitudes, throwaway culture was manufactured and “planned obsolescence” was first introduced in 1932 by the American economist Bernard London who proposed consumer goods have an official lifespan, enforced by government. “After the allotted time had expired, these things would be legally ‘dead,’”. And there you have the 12 month warranty; it does not respect product lifecycle, craftsmanship, our environment, nothing. But it is a fact that the concept of disposability was a necessary condition for America’s cultural rejection of tradition and acceptance of change. Regardless, you get what you pay for.
At the time of writing this, I came across Ore Streams, a website project and study led by Studio Formafantasma on the current state of e-waste management. The website collects the research outcomes and compiles an archive of documents, videos, books and articles on the topic. This includes product life extension strategies for designing products that are easier to repair, upgrade and maintain throughout their lifespan. The researchers argue that while they can come at an increased cost at point of purchase, they generate revenue downstream, through the introduction of service and upgrade packages. Currently, our economic system and industry incentivise cheap products, low-quality materials and builds where the repair of and refurbishment on such items is not profitable. And so if you were considering whether it was worth upwards of $995.00 to own a Vitamix, or perhaps you own one and then you will understand that these machines are built to last.
A Vitamix is guaranteed for five to seven years, extended warranties of up to ten years are available on select models, Vitamix also sells refurbished machines - they are as stated simply on their website ‘in the business of building dependable, not disposable’. Anyone that produces a good should be responsible for it at the end of its useful life, but we cannot wait for manufacturers, for brands, we all need to be responsible. No matter how you look at it, there is a solution for all of us participating in this shift to a circular economy. Our purchases have an economic impact and the reality is that we have the power to kill off brands and force industry to do better. And so if you can, buy a better blender.
And since we are discussing waste, if you had not resolved to finish this soup within the next couple of days it is perfectly alright frozen. Defrost and re-blend if necessary, it will be good, not as good prior to freezing but still good.
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