Grandmother and Granddad
I had a higgledy-piggledy education in cooking. Mother taught me, Grandmother taught me, and Dad had strict ideas about what should be done with meat and with beans. I also read books and taught myself. Even now, though, I cannot use a recipe exactly as it is written. I’ve tried. I’m sure some things would turn out better if I could follow, but I have a hard time with rules in any disciple. What I can do is experiment and when I do, I’m able to at least write down what I threw into the mix. I’ve been told I may be what they call a taster. All I know is I’m persnicity. Sometimes that gives me an edge on pleasing other people, but there are people who don’t like anything I cook, so then I get to eat out. I do enjoy being with people and I like a good pizza now and again. That’s something I’ve never mastered at home.
Today I was thinking about soup. Because too much fiber doesn’t set well with me, I had to give up having a big salad for lunch. As a side thought, Bill and I were each making our own salad and the only ingredient they had in common was lettuce and we each liked a different kind of lettuce. I do enjoy soup for lunch and I used to like the canned alphabet soup I fed the kids. I loved Grandmother’s potato soup and the vegetable soup our Mrs. McGregor made in the restaurant my parents owned, so I decided to make my own soups for lunch. I’ve been practicing and although they are not my Grandmother’s or Mrs. McGregor’s soups, I like them very much because they contain only things I like.
Grandmother taught me to make her potato soup. Peel potatoes, cut them up, boil them in water, while boiling, fry half a pound of bacon, make it crisp, then break it up into bacon bits, and add the potatoes in their water. Fry onions in the bacon grease and dump it all into the soup add milk. It was super-delicious. You can guess why I don’t make it that way anymore.
Nowadays I put in canned celery soup, leeks, carrots, cream, and a few other things. It makes me happy and Bill likes it too.
I also make a vegetable soup with Ramen chicken noodle soup as a base. I add frozen peas, grated carrots, a handful of cut-up spinach, chicken broth and home-grown rosemary, oregano, and thyme. I throw in a can of chicken for protein.
There’s one other kind of soup I like and I would love to figure out how to make it someday, but deep in my heart I don’t think I will. For one thing, it would be nigh onto impossible to get the crabs they use in Port Townsend in Puget Sound and I don’t think any other crabs would make the most delicious Crab Bisque I’ve ever eaten. Even the name sounds exotic.