Tomato Bisque, served in china for a little joie de vivre during these times of social distancing. Lois Rogers photo
Tomato Bisque, served in china for a little joie de vivre during these times of social distancing. Lois Rogers photo
The Holy Season of Lent is a time when folks may be looking for tasty, easy-to-prepare meatless meals. Over the years, The Monitor’s freelance writer Lois Rogers has created a library of meals in her Keeping the Feast column. Check out all of her recipes at:!

It started with a Facebook post by a longtime friend and writing colleague featuring a photo of her dinner table framed in candlelight.

“Pulled out the china, silver and crystal tonight,” messaged Kelly-Jane Cotter. “We will be social distancing, but we will not lose our joie de vivre.”

How could anyone resist following her lead?

Certainly not me. According to the message, Kelly-Jane, her husband, Stacy Bruden, and their daughter Audrey, went on to dine on salmon with dill sauce, roasted asparagus and sparkling cider, which were definitely not on the menu here.

In the little blue house on the lake, a simple Lenten soup was under development for a Keeping the Feast installment featuring only ingredients from the pantry.

Considering the ongoing frenzy at area supermarkets, I wasn’t going to vary from that theme. But the china and crystal, now that was another story.

I’ve been trying to make the best of social distancing in large part by savoring the view of the park across the street with all its cherry trees, forsythia and daffodils in bloom.

Cooking up a version of a creamy, bisque soup to go with a grilled, cheddar cheese sandwich and serving them on Lenox china would bring some joie de vivre to a table by the kitchen window overlooking the park.

Not quite Paris by the Seine, perhaps, but not shabby either.

I love bisque, and most of the time turn to seafood or asparagus for the main ingredient.  But in the pantry on this night, the only main ingredients to draw from were packaged diced tomatoes from Italy.

So, I started combing through cookbooks and internet sites for insight on tomato bisque.

Turns out there’s a whole lot of it.

The recipe below is an amalgamation drawn from the research and blended with the few, random vegetables on hand: garlic, onions, celery, carrots and parsley. Packaged vegetable broth stood in for the chicken broth recommended in many of the recipes, while half-and-half (a staple in this house) took the place of heavy cream.

Table Blessing

For food in a world where many walk in hunger;

For faith in a world where many walk in fear;

For friends in a world where many walk alone;

We give you thanks, O Lord.

Source: Daily Prayer Ministries, a volunteer, nondenominational ministry dedicated to the glory of Jesus Christ