Catherine’s voice was always one of my favorites in Brain, Child and the late, lamented Wondertime magazine; her carefully-observed writing steps so lightly, and with such wit, that you don’t realize she’s led you to a serious topic until you find yourself brushing away tears of recognition. “Ohhh, she gets it,” her readers marvel; “And she tells it like it is.” Readers loved her memoir, Waiting For Birdy, and now find her sensible advice monthly in an etiquette column for Real Simple.

Lisa and I asked her to write about grocery shopping. Surely she would have something smart and funny to offer about marketing with kids, likely studded with anecdotes about epic meltdowns in the cereal aisle?

No, she responded thoughtfully; not really. Shopping has always been pretty uneventful in her family, and where’s the interest in that? So she pitched another idea, and Lisa and I trusted that whatever Catherine was interested in writing about, we’d be interested in reading. Plus, her essay offers a recipe for an excellent everyday soup, elevated with a surprise ingredient.