Chunky Broccoli and Cheddar Soup

My sister and I didn’t always get along.

This should come as no surprise to anyone who has or ever had a sister; by nature, two girls living in the same household for the majority of their lives are bound to knock heads every once in a while.

The thing about Megan and me is how totally and completely opposite we are: she’s aggressive, I’m passive; she’s outgoing, I’m a hermit; she exudes confidence, me – well, not so much.

I was your typical little sister growing up; I dug through her diary and revealed all the juicy bits to my parents, exaggerated any conflict between us in order to make her out to be the bad guy, and once I stood up in front of the school bus and told the entire school (which, incidentally, fit on that one bus) that she had a crush on Chris Murray. A particularly good find was a cigarette butt in her closet, which got her grounded for at least a month. Sometimes I would purposely do things to push her over the brink, just so that she’d do something to get herself in trouble.

Embarrassing her in front of friends was a real event, and would have me plotting for days in advance of their arrival. Once I replaced her Nirvana cassette with a Fred Penner tape just before a boyfriend was set to arrive. I prepared elaborate outfits of oversized hats, sunglasses and 80’s shoulder pad jackets from my dad’s closet to wear when they came over, parading around the house playing my harmonica.

Although I’d never admit it at the time, half the reason I got her grounded so much was so that she’d spend less time with her friends and more time at home with me. I loved my sister, no matter how much fun it was to make her life miserable, and I was always so jealous of the amount of time she spent with her friends.

I remember the day she moved out; I’ll always remember that day. We packed our old station wagon to the gunnels, in a rush, of course, and Megan was supremely cranky. I remember being mad at her for being cranky on her last official day home, but when I did the same five years later, I understood why. After a long, hot, and argument-filled car ride, we arrived at her new home, unloaded all her stuff onto the third floor of the all-girls’ residence, and then left without her. The ride home was one of the most unsettling experiences of my life; it was just me and my parents, and I was acutely aware of the fact that that was how it was going to be from then on.

The distance was good for us, I think. I missed her a lot, and would write her long, rambling letters about boys at school and fights with my friends. She wrote back, telling me about boys at her school and all the new friends she was making, along with some awkward older sisterly dating advice. When she came home at Christmas or over the summers breaks, we were closer than ever.

Megan and I only see each other a couple times a year now; she lives on the West Coast and I live on the East. It’s funny though, how much alike we’re becoming despite the difference in our personalities and the distance between us. We actually buy the same clothing, read the same books, and have the same duvet cover on our beds (thanks, Mom).

We tell each other just about everything, and thankfully she no longer has to worry about me tattling to our parents if she did something bad. It wasn’t easy, but I believe we’ve finally come to a point where knowing everything about each other isn’t means for ammunition, but a point of empathy and respect.

I know it sounds cliché, but her battles really are mine, she cries when I cry, and the scars from whatever stupid fights we’ve had over the years are only reminders of how far we’ve come, and how much more growing there is to come. And I really can’t wait to see where we go from here.



Cutting board
large kitchen knife
measuring cups
measuring spoons
microwave safe bowl with lid
large saucepan
potato masher
wooden spoon


5 cups broccoli florets
1 teaspoon olive oil
large onion
3 cloves garlic
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 cups milk
2 cups cheddar cheese
1/4 cup tapioca


Cut broccoli into florets and rinse in a colander. Place in a microwave safe bowl, cover and microwave on high for five minutes.

In a large saucepan, heat oil. Chop onion and garlic and add to pot, stirring often. Cook on medium high for 10-15 minutes. Add broth and cooked broccoli. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low and let simmer for 20 minutes, or until broccoli is soft.

Mash broccoli with a potato masher until desired consistency. Pour in milk and cream and stir. Add cheddar cheese and tapioca and continue to heat on low. Let simmer until soup has thickened, at least 20-25 minutes.


3 thoughts on “Chunky Broccoli and Cheddar Soup

  1. Beautifully written. I love your sister very much (thanks for dropping her off on the third floor of the all-girls residence!) and I’m glad that I got to meet you (however shortly) over the holidays. You and your sister are very lucky to have each other and the relationship that you share.

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