In 1978 for my something-something birthday (I was pretty young, so it was really more like my something birthday), my parents gave me tickets to see Annie. Are you serious!!! Amazing! I loved and still love a good broadway show. And, this particular one had my name. Brilliant.
The show had debuted earlier that year and it’s tiny red-headed lead, Andrea McArdle, had rapidly become the toast of the great white way. I idolized her. She was really incredible. Eight shows a week, talk and morning show appearances. She was on Johnny Carson a bunch of times (too late for me to see) and sang a duet with my other hero, Kristy McNichol (who doesn’t love ‘Little Darlings’?), on The Mike Douglas Show.
So, you can imagine that when my parents told me we were going to see Annie on Broadway in the big city with Andrea McArdle, I was so so so excited….
The day of the show, I put on my best going to broadway frock and sat on the stairs waiting to get in the car and go. My mother drove into the city as my friend and I belted out the words to every song (except Easy Street, which I never really liked) in the back seat.
We enter the theatre and are ushered to our seats. I’m so excited at this point, I can barely contain myself. I open the program in hopes of learning everything I can about my broadway icon, Andrea McArdle…Then, it happened… An evil slip of white paper fell from the program….what? I read slowly as my dreams and hopes were shattered to pieces.
‘In today’s performance‘ it read…
‘the role of Annie usually played by Andrea McArdle‘….
‘will be played by Shelley Bruce‘.
WHAT?!?!?!? Who the …is Shelley Bruce????
Shattered. And, I’ve been shattered ever since. Sure, I enjoyed the show (I mean, they sing a whole song about how great Annie is, duh) – but, certainly not as much.
You know I’m a little (read a lot) superstitious. So when a friend offered to give me tickets to Annie (now back on Broadway 35 years later), I wanted to do everything I could to send good ju-ju to the show. I mean, I couldn’t bear to experience the same disappointment again. So to honor Annie, Andrea McArdle, Lilla Crawford (current Annie) and red-headed orphans everywhere, I decided to eat only red, orange and orphan-affordable foods the entire day of the show.
Sweet Potato Soup (Serves 6)
Tiny Apartment Tip: Get a hand held immersion blender. It’s changed my life.
- 2 TBSP butter
- 2 Carrots, peeled and diced small
- 2 Celery Stalks, peeled and diced small
- 1 large Sweet Potato, peeled and diced small
- 1 Sweet Onion, diced smallish
- 3/4 or so Cup Diced Cherry Tomatoes
- 1 TBSP all purpose flour
- 1/4 Cup Parsley chopped
- 1 TSP freshly grated ginger – remember, you have some in the freezer
- 1/4 TSP Ground Nutmeg
- 4 Cups of Chicken Stock – I actually for the first time used 2 Knorr Chicken Bouillon cubes and it was AOK
- 1/4 Cup of heavy cream (optional….)
- Salt and Pepper
1. Bring 4 Cups of water to a boil and dissolve 2 Knorr’s Chicken Bouillon Cubes
2. In a separate pot, heat 2 TBSP of butter over med/low
3. Add the onions, carrots and celery and saute until very soft – about :15mins depending upon how small you diced
4. Add the tomatoes stir for about a minute
5. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook :02 mins
6. Sprinkle the Nutmeg and Ginger over the vegetables and stir
7. Add the diced sweet potatoes and stir just to combine
8. Pour in the chicken stock and the parsley and BTB, RTS (bring to boil, reduce to simmer)
9. Simmer covered for :35 minutes – until the sweet potatoes are super soft
10. Remove from heat and using your brand new Cuisinart hand held immersion blender, blend the soup until very smooth….this takes a while because the tomatoes are pesky and escape the blades. Can’t blame ’em.
11. Optional: Stir in the cream
12. Serve with a garnish of parsley and a lovely dollop of sour cream
It may have been a silly and superstitious exercise, but I do think making the auburn colored soup helped.
Last night. 6:45pm.
I arrive at the theatre, wind my way through 45,000 or so 8-10 year old girls seeing their first show. I’m greeted by the first usher, she is holding the program, but doesn’t give us one. Instead, she directs us to a second usher….I’m anxious fearing the worst. I finally receive the program and in an attempt to delay the potential despair, hold onto it, clutched in my hand, closed until I reach my seat.
Then….I don’t open the program. Instead, I just flip it over and shake it, hoping no evil paper falls…..AND NONE DID!
The role of Annie would, indeed, be played by the exceptional Lilla Crawford!
OK, I can’t be sure that the soup had anything to do with it…but, 35 Years later….The sun DID come out and the curse of an understudy Annie is lifted!