Jimmy’s Lentil Soup


From left to right: Douglas Gage, Chris Wheeler, Kevin Hogan, James Shore

I know we’re not supposed to cry over spilled milk, but what about soup? Last week my high school sweetheart died in the Arizona Sweatlodge Accident – an event that surprisingly rocked my world. I am devastated by this loss, saddened by the tragedy, angered by the senselessness, and in mourning over the separation of a father from his children, a husband from his wife, a son from his mother, a brother from his siblings and a friend from us all.

The last time I saw Jim was in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1995 when Jeff and I returned from the Peace Corps. Jeff and I decided to try life in the American Southwest, and my old friend from high school happened to be living there. Jim arranged for us to stay with a friend of his while we looked for an apartment, and on one hot desert summer evening, we had a party. Jimmy made lentil soup.

I don’t really remember much from that night except for a few small details. I remember watching Jim cut the carrots with a big chef’s knife at the kitchen table. He was fastidious about his work. Each dice of the carrot was made to be the same size, and there was no hurry to get it done. While he chopped, I remember Jim explaining how the “Swamp Cooler” worked by using water vapor to cool homes in the desert, and I remember his hair was buzzed really short. The last time I had seen him in Minneapolis, his hair was long – mid back long. I don’t remember the jokes, but I recall the way he would toss his head to the ceiling and laugh.

We shared three years together, and despite the fact that it didn’t work out, he extended kindness to me long after we broke up. I have a locker full of memories of days spent with my high school sweetheart, but in front of me, a simple bowl of soup that from this day forward will remind me of my last night with James Scott Shore.


Jimmy’s Lentil Soup – Recipe


  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 1 pound lentils, washed
  • 4 carrots, diced
  • 2 cups sweet potato, diced
  • 5 medium tomatoes, pureed
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 2 Tbs. cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8-12 cups water

Directions: 1) Saute the onion until it becomes translucent then add the garlic and jalapeno. Saute just long enough to smell the garlic. 2) Add all the other ingredients except the cilantro and sweet potato. 3) Cook the soup until the lentils are almost soft then add the sweet potato. Cook just until the sweet potato is tender and add cilantro just before serving.


5 thoughts on “Jimmy’s Lentil Soup

  1. Sarah,

    This is a beautiful tribute. In your own gorgeous way. I don’t think I’ll ever have lentil soup without thinking of Jim. Or you.
    Thank you.

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  3. Sarah,

    I will definitely try this recipe as a tribune to your friend. So sorry to hear about your and his family’s loss.


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  5. Such beauty! Thanks! From one who loved James to another! For sure, like soup, our livesblessed by James we will never be the same!

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