MY MORMOR took great pride in her garden and she especially loved her herbs. After a long and cold winter, she was always outside in the garden as soon as the last snow disappeared. I can still remember her rubber garden boots. They must have been 30 years old, at least. When she was in the garden, I would bring her piping hot coffee and her beloved cigarettes. Sometimes I would help out, but often I would sit on a rock listening to her talking about what she was doing. Often, she would tell me one of her famous childhood stories. Her garden pride was her herbs. Remember, this was the ‘70s, in Norway, where people thought that parsley was something exotic. She grew basil, thyme, sage, dill, and lavender. Once the plants were large enough, she made a herb stock each year. It was a delicious stock that we drank from mugs. It was so simple—just herbs, garlic, salt, and pepper. She would always take that first sip, sigh, and look so happy. I think there must have been a very happy memory for her with this stock.
Heat the oil in a large pot and sauté onion until soft. Add garlic cloves and let them get soft. Add pepper and herbs and stir well. Pour in the water and let the stock simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt. Strain the soup and serve it in cups.