Thursday, January 24, 2013

Vegetable Soup Memories

It's so interesting the memories that spring to mind when you're making something from your childhood.

I experienced this today when I was making the Veggie Soup my mom and dad would make all the time for my siblings and me. This simple concoction of tomato juice, root vegetables, ground beef, and noodles holds so many images from my childhood. From seeing my brother staring at himself in the shiny stock pot my mom used, to the way my dad would crumble the crackers into the soup and how I would try to imitate him, I love more than just the taste of this soup.

The tomato juice started as the tomatoes from our garden being cooked and put through the Squeezo. Taking turns, my mom, sisters, and I would turn the crank for hours; it seemed to make a years worth of tomato juice in a canning afternoon. With every sip of this soup (even though I make the soup with store bought tomato juice now), I remember my mom in the kitchen with quart jars in stages of tomato juice bustling around in her apron overseeing all of us.

The Autumn days brought the cool weather that made soup perfect for dinner. That's when Mom would brown the ground beef and onion while the tomato juice, carrots, potatoes, celery, and sometimes a turnip would bubble on the back burner. I always got excited when this soup was cooking, I knew I would LOVE dinner. While all the ingredients (all the above plus corn and elbow macaroni) meld together, Mom would make biscuits or rolls and have us set the table with soup bowls and plates with hot pads in place and the saltines by Dad.

This evening when I made the soup for my husband and me, I remembered more. My mom would always put the leftovers in mason jars and use the same funnel to keep the soup from spilling everywhere.  I was so excited the first time I put it away without spilling!

With all these memories flooding back and knowing that more will come every time I make this soup, I think I will have to rename the recipe in my recipe binder to Memory Soup.

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