We lived in Antigua and Barbuda (a sunny isle in the tropics) when I was about 15/16 (I know I know, you thought that was my age now, bless you) our neighbours were a really lovely couple from Trinidad and Tobago (another sunny isle in the tropics) and somehow we got into watching Sesame Street on afternoons. Listen, for your own safety, don't ask. The reason we watched Sesame Street is B6-13 classified, and you do not have that level of clearance. If i tell you, I'll have to kill you, or throw some mosquitoes in your general direction. So let's just move past the unpleasantness.
There was one skit in which the puppets/muppets taught cooperation. If I remember correctly, they were picking fruit, one of the little guys was in a tree and they figured if he picked and they caught, they would get through picking faster. The guy in the tree said "let's call it cooperation". The camera pans in on the puppet on the ground, who replies "no, let's call it Shirley". It takes me a while, but I make sense I promise.
Shirley somehow became the name of anything we cooked that had no actual thought to it. A basic, throw everything in the pot and hope for the best kind of meal. Ah hah! see, I told you the sense part was coming.
I made a pot of "Shirley" yesterday. Shout out to Shaheed and Wendie, they'd be proud. They were the neighbours, in case you're wondering. I don't name all my food...
West Indians make Callaloo soup, or Peas soup, they don't generally put those two things together, but "Shirley".
I had callaloo, I had peas, and not enough of either to make enough soup on it's own, so along came Shirley. Peas, greens leafy things, pumpkin and carrots, worked out pretty good for me.
I'm not one for stock, I've made stock, I get it, but I grew up understanding that onions, garlic, herbs, spices and butter or some variation of oil, is a good starter for anything savoury. They (not sure who they are, but I think they may be related to "the streets"", and they sure talk a lot) say, that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. It ain't broke. Cook the way're you're comfortable, it really shouldn't be a chore, if stocks work for you, throw that in your pot.
Anyway, enough of my chatter, it's time you met Shirley. Feel free to leave me a comment, a question, tell me about your Shirley.