You would think that by now, after 25 and three quarter years of living in this country, I would have gotten used to the inefficiency of the United States Postal Service.

And yet, every time I walk into a post office, I convince myself that this time will be different. Β 

This time the postal workers will actually know how to do their jobs. Β 

This time the self-drop off machines will work and I’ll be out of there in ten minutes or less.

This time there won’t be forty people in line with only two windows open, one of which is being manned by a poor excuse for an employee who inexplicably disappears into the back for ten minutes at a time while in the midst of a transaction, causing the person he was dealing with to scream over and over (and over) that she demands to see a manager.Β  Which, of course, prompts half the people in line to demand that they want to see a manager while the other half are screaming that everyone should just shut up. And you’re left, standing there, hugging your package to your chest and fearing for your life.

So pleasant. All the time.

Guys. Don’t make me go back there.


At least not until my nerves feel slightly less frayed, my post {office} traumatic stress disorder has resolved, and enough bowls of this soup (which tastes like good, old-fashioned comfort) have been consumed that I can believe again that there is some good in everyone.

Even demented post office employees.

This is my submission to this week’s edition of the 12 Weeks of Winter Squash! Link up your squash recipes here:


Tuscan Bean and Wheatberry Soup with Cabbage and Winter Squash
Serves 6, adapted from Mediterranean Harvest

For the soup

  • 1/2 cup wheat berries, spelt berries or rye berries, soaked overnight
  • 10 cups water
  • Salt
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh sage
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb green cabbage, cored and shredded
  • 1/2 lb dried borlotti or pinto beans, soaked in water to cover overnight and drained
  • 1 lb kabocha squash, seeded and diced
  • 1 parmesan rind
  • freshly ground pepper
  • freshly grated parmesan

For the sofrito

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp dried rosemary, crumbled
  • 14 oz canned diced tomatoes
  • salt


  1. Combine the wheatberries and two cups of water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce th heat, cover and simmer until tender, about 40-60 minutes. Stir in 1/4 tsp salt and remove from the heat. Drain if there is water left in the pan. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large heavy soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook the onion until it begins to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the carrot and sage and continue to cook, stirring, until the veggies are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the cabbage, 1/2 tsp salt and cook, stirring often, until the cabbage is limp, about 10 minutes. Add the drained beans, squash, Parmesan rind, and the remaining 8 cups of water, or enough to cover the ingredients by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour. Add salt to taste and simmer another 30 minutes or until the beans are tender. Discard the Parmesan rind. Ladle out 2 cups of the beans and veggies with a small amount of broth ad puree in a blender or food processor (though I just stuck my immersion blender into the pot and blended about 1/4 of the soup). Return to the pot.
  3. While the soup is simmering heat the oil for the sofrito in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat and add the garlic and rosemary. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds, and stir in the tomatoes. Add salt and cook, stirring often, until the tomatoes have cooked down and the sofrito is thick and beginning to stick to the pan, about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Stir the sofrito into the soup. Continue to simmer for another 30 minutes. Stir in the wheatberries. Taste and adjust salt, and add lots of freshly ground pepper. Serve with freshly grated parmesan.

I am submitting this to Souper Sundays which is hosted by Deb of Kahakai Kitchen!

You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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61 Responses to Tuscan Bean and Wheatberry Soup with Cabbage and Winter Squash

  1. I am so glad I switched to UPS because regular trips to the post office were a drain on my life lol. Love this perfect form of comfort food!

  2. Tandy says:

    I have thankfully only had to visit a New York Post Office once in my life! I will Google wheatberry when I’m back home πŸ™‚

  3. Karis says:

    Cabbage, carrots, winter squash, fresh sage…this is a perfect recipe for my recent CSA box.

    I just printed my own postage labels last night for the first time from and I’m in love. I hope to never stand in a post office line again!

  4. What a hearty soup! I feel like this would keep me full and happy for hours!!!

  5. Amy says:

    Going to the USPS is becoming more like going to the DMV – absolutely dreadful. It ranks right up there with things I hate to do most: laundry, unloading the dishwasher, go to the bank, getting gasoline…and the USPS. Another reason why they’re going bankrupt. Seriously.

  6. SallyBR says:

    You definitely do not want to get me started on the Postal service. I have a dark cloud over my head and well… almost everything I buy or try to ship ends up with some major problem. Even lab stuff – for some unbelievable reasons, even FedEx messes up an important delivery. All it takes is for them to see my name on the envelope. Trouble.

    sorry for the rant.

    Great recipe as usual… My sympathies on the mail issues.

  7. london bakes says:

    If it makes you feel any better, the post office is just as bad here. What I don’t understand is why they never seem to have anyone behind the counter at lunchtime which is surely when most people go to the post office? It’s ridiculous!

  8. i’ve learned that the trick for the post office, at least where i live, is to go at 6. they close at 7 and it seems like they are almost always empty then…maybe everyone is eating dinner or something? works for me. πŸ™‚

  9. You offically depressed me! I have to go to the post office today! I hate going there to begin with, and now you really make me not want to go!!

    Your soup looks simply amazing!! I love the squash you used in it. I have one that needs to be used up. This soup would be perfect for it!!

  10. I’m in full agreement with you…the PO sucks so much. And it’s so hot in there! I always feel like I’m going to faint while waiting on the hour-long line because my hat/scarf/gloves are just too much for the wait.

    I <3 wheatberries! I totally need to use them more often. This looks so good!!

  11. sandra says:

    You should try the one on 23rd and Lexington Ave if it isn’t too much out of your way. They are really quite good and very courteous (and an anamoly).

  12. Jenn Kendall says:

    such a gorgeous soup, and i also am reminded that i need to go to the post office. do not want to go!

  13. Beth says:

    What a terrible experience – and it’s bound to get worse as we get closer to Christmas. This was the best reminder I could have received to get my Christmas mail off NOW!

  14. Caren says:

    Looks amazing!!

    Listen, the fact that the USPS is still operating astounds me. What a bunch of kuck ups….seriously!

    Hey, what country are you from?

  15. Alisa says:

    Oooh, I can smell the amazingness of this recipe! I loooove sage in the winter.

    Yep, the post office is the same everywhere! We do FedEx and online services for cards now πŸ™‚

  16. Lora says:

    Ha! I always seem to get in a brawl at the post office in NYC. Either with an employee or another customer. Karma struck when I did a training for work a few months back and they handed me the USPS as my model to work on for the course. My head almost exploded. I have to go there today but I’m sticking with the stamp machines. This lovely bowl of fall goodness would be perfect for lunch. what time should I come over? πŸ™‚

  17. Shannon says:

    jeez, it’s aweful around the holidays! good thing you have this soup to get you through πŸ™‚

  18. Gloria says:

    Love this stew Joanne, make me hungry!

  19. Oh my gosh, I love thisss – it’s so thick and comforting. I recon I must to get my hands on some wheat berries πŸ™‚

  20. To be fair, post offices in NYC are a special kind of hell. Since I moved out of NY and to new england, I’ve been amazed at how much less shitty they are everywhere else. Particularly that post office on 85th st…where nightmares are made.

  21. Kalyn Denny says:

    To be fair, the post office here is actually pretty great. Just don’t do a vacation hold on your mail; that can be a nightmare.

    Winter squash, yum!

  22. In a sea of peppermint and gingerbread, this looks especially awesome! I love wheatberries and the texture must be fab in this recipe!

  23. Nice hearty chunky soup.
    The postal workers are trained to work like that – they make everything else look so great.(Un)fortunately the postal service here is excellent.

  24. I totally feel you. I sent my cookie swap cookies across the country last Monday and paid $40 to have them delivered the next day. Friday morning I got a message from the person saying thank you…FRIDAY! Ugggh.

  25. andrea says:

    If I never have to walk into a post office again I will be a happy camper. The holidays make this really challenging though! At least we can all come home and eat hearty soup like this! yum!

  26. Hearty, healthy, comforting, and delicious? Sounds perfect to me! I always forget about wheatberries…need to bring them back ASAP!

  27. tigerfish says:

    This thick wholesome soup is so comforting! I have been using barley a lot to thicken up soups/stews. Looks like I shd try wheatberries sometime too.

  28. Yikes, you are scaring me b/c I have to head to the post office this afternoon to mail out my fbcookieswap cookies today!

  29. This soup looks just lovely. I can’t do watery soups – there absolutely must be a lot for me to chew. Wheat berries certainly do the trick here, and the beans and kabocha squash will just make it more wonderful. I’ll certainly be making this soup for dinner this week!

  30. ha ha ha ha….I am sure glad that our post office is like a fairy tale compared with yours. But I could still use a bowl of your delicious, healthy soup to comfort me. From would-be disasters ;P

  31. I went to ship a bottle of wine and I didn’t know you couldn’t ship wine through U.S.P.S. I then got a lecture from the lady and literally had to pull my package away from her. I then went down the road to another post office. I said it was fudge and it got shipped…lol!!

  32. marie says:

    Ugh, I have to go to the post office later this week and I am already dreading it.

  33. Eileen says:

    Yuck, the post office! This is why I try to print postage etc from home if at all possible. But a beautiful orange winter soup like this will make up for it, right? I haven’t had kabocha squash yet this year–must go find one!

  34. oh man, the post office during the holidays is a dreadful thing…especially the week of christmas eve and your waiting in line for almost an hour (if you’re lucky)…

  35. Pam says:

    The post office drives me insane! A big bowl of this soup would be hearty, filling, and oh so comforting. YUM!

  36. Debbie says:

    One of my sons works for UPS and they are the best! Love a good bean soup!

  37. daphne says:

    Oh yes, I did walk into the post office once on our trip and it was insane!!

    this soup looks so hearty and warm! Oh, i would love a bowl of it today.

  38. OohLookBel says:

    Gosh, I dislike going to the post office, but with all the online shopping I do, it can’t be avoided… Nevermind, maybe next time you can take a flask of this delicious soup with you to alleviate the tedium πŸ˜‰

  39. I’m pretty sure that the post office is pure torture. I hate it. I despise it. UGHHHHH. This, on the other hand, I love. It looks wonderful!

  40. One of my favorite things about Australia is the postal system. The postal workers are kind, remember you, work fast and in my little town I have never had to wait in line. πŸ™‚

  41. Christine says:

    Had a good laugh reading your post since I have a package that has to go to the PO and I’ve been putting it off for all the reasons you mentioned. The only problem is that it’s only going to get worse between now and Christmas. πŸ™

  42. That Girl says:

    This is why I’ll only use the post office by my work. 31 years and it’s the only efficient one I’ve been to.

  43. Reeni Pisano says:

    What a thick and hearty bowl of deliciousness – full of all things that are good for us body and soul at this time of the year. I send other family members to do my dirt work and then pay them off in Christmas cookies. heeheee

  44. Kari says:

    I do so love your stories and writing, even if I sympathise (but can’t fully empathise!) with your postal woes. I’m sure it only gets worse in the lead up to Christmas :S

    This soup looks incredible – more like a stew than a soup, which is my kind of soup. I really need to try wheatberries!

  45. Having children (and my grandson) hundreds of miles away means that I am very familiar with this postal scenario. I feel your pain. This soup though, is wonderful- I’m loving the winter squash in it. πŸ™‚

  46. A creamy and comforting soup.I love winter squash!

  47. Katerina says:

    This soup is the perfect remedy for the post office experience Joanne! makes you forget everything!

  48. Lynn says:

    That soup looks so healthy! I’ve never had that kind of post office experience (with people screaming.) We just quietly seethe here in the south. πŸ™‚

  49. Barbara says:

    I try to avoid the post office as much as possible. Patience is the answer. Hard to come by in December!
    Love your soup; such great flavors!

  50. I will do anything to avoid going to the post office. Comfort food after going is a must!

  51. Having lived in four different countries I can tell you that postal services are inefficient everywhere. Or it certainly appears that way:) Your soup looks incredible! I love all the healthy and vibrant ingredients.

  52. Post offices are the worse. Thank goodness my local post office has a 24 hour kiosk.

    I love squash. This is great recipe!

  53. Wow that is scary. My post office doesn’t look at all like that. I’m rarely in there for more than 5 minutes and we don’t have self serve machines…Sounds interesting though. But then again I live in a small community. I would give you a big hug if I could.

  54. You always have a recipe that I’ve never seen or heard of before in my life, and that’s a good thing! I love soups that are thick and hearty and filling like this!

  55. What an incredibly hearty dish! Most people can’t photograph squashy stewy stuff to save their life but these pics are stunning!

  56. Saguna says:

    Wheatberries look amazing in this soup! I agree- I absolutely had a case of post office traumatic stress disorder just this afternoon. Mailing things abroad is WAY more confusing than it should be. I mean, we’ve sorted out email… but this whole three dimensional object transport thing is disappointingly slow.

  57. Chris says:

    Can I substitute Cap’n Crunch Crunchberries? ha ha, ewww that would be bad.

    Sorry about your post office experiences. We have a WONDERFUL mail carrier, she’s a blessing, and our nearest office is very friendly. Well except for one worker, I think she transferred here from your post office:)

  58. I try to stay out of the post office and the mall as much as I can this time of year. πŸ˜‰

    I love how hearty and full of good stuff this soup is. I need to use more wheatberries. Thanks for sharing it with Souper Sundays.

  59. Laura says:

    The temperature has dropped here and this looks like the perfect antidote!

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