Transcription Soup

A keyboard has no scent.


And yet manipulating the keys brings forth aromas, incredible sights, acoustical marvels. The sounds of conversation.

I promised Gil that I would do a fair amount of transcribing for him. He’s conducted many interviews as part of a book collaboration he’s involved in. None of this background is accessible without a keyboard to yield up the brilliant things that get said.

So I listen to the tape. I screw up my forehead and try to make out the words that are muddled – some of the interviews took place in a noisy restaurant. I shake my hands out, massage my fingers when they get sore.

And then I take a break. I make soup.

big spoon

The ideal recipe, with a gigantic spoon, a spoon out of a Grimm story cottage.

Soup is the antidote, of course, for many ailments. But it’s also a good balance for tasks like transcribing, where you’re using your keyboard and your fingers and there’s a wee of drudgery.

I use a whole soup fowl if I have one, though disjointed pieces will do. Bring them to a simmer in your biggest pot and skim off the scum. Add carrots and celery. I use the last of the celery from my garden, which never stalked up but is fresh and good.


The piece de resistance: chicken feet I bought from a farmer.

chicken legs

Not pretty, these gams, but they really boost the broth’s flavor.

Turnips, parsnips, parsley, leeks. So simple. Salt, in the palm of my hand.

Julia Child says to bring the stock just to a “smile,” and to simmer for three hours or so.

In which time I will have tip-tapped each key hundreds of times, to deliver a three-hour back-and-forth conversation.

1 Comment

Filed under Cooking, Culture, Home, Jean Zimmerman, Publishing, Writers, Writing

One response to “Transcription Soup

  1. lkcr

    What flavoring herbs do you use in your soup?
    I am partial to sage, tumeric and paprika, as well as a good dose of garlic. Also, do you add noodles, potatoes or rice? Do you thicken it during cooking, or as a last stage, or … at all?
    I also am fond of making a good soup on days when I spend a lot of time at the keyboard. Makes me feel like I am getting more done.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s