Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Speaking of Soup

As I said in another posting, the tomatoes were very late this year. The good news, for me, was that the final ripening coincides with…soup time. Any chill in the air makes me think of soup, but this year I can’t help but think of tomato.

My grandmother used to make a tomato/potato one she called “Butter Soup.” I used to think it was a weird name for something that had no visible evidence of butter, but you don’t argue with an 80+ year old woman who is also a wonderful cook.

Before she passed away (at 102 years), I tried to get some of her recipes. She just frowned and said, “Oh, Honey, I don’t use recipes; I just make those ‘by thought.’”

That thought-method of cooking, though, made trying to pin her down almost painful. For example, I’d ask her how much of an ingredient to use.

“Oh,” she’d say, cupping her ancient hands to measure the imaginary ingredient, “You know, ‘some.’” And I would watch her hands carefully to guess about how much “some” was. So it went.

Sadly, my grandmother’s true Butter Soup recipe went with her. This is the best I could do. It’s always been a simple recipe, but I think it manages to be delicate, warm, and comforting—all things which happen to describe my grandmother as well as her soup. “Merlee” was the name my older sister gave her as a toddler, and it stuck. It was the only name I ever knew her by.

I figure I might as well throw in a recipe. Guess you could say my blog is a soup of sorts.

Merlee’s Butter Soup (makes—you know—some)

2-3 garden tomatoes, peeled and diced
3 T butter (I used a light one)
2 ribs celery, diced
½ med. onion, diced
14 oz. chicken broth
1 largish Yukon Gold potato or 2 red potatoes, peeled and diced
11.5 oz. can tomato juice
white pepper
Jane’s Crazy Mixed Up Salt or other spices of choice

Fill a medium saucepan with water and boil; drop tomatoes in and remove as soon as split appears. Rinse till cool, remove skin, and dice.

Dump out water and use saucepan to melt butter. Sauté onion and celery until onion is transparent. Add chicken broth and diced potatoes. Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer till potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Add tomato juice and bring to boil. Add diced tomatoes and heat through. Season to taste.

“We can do no great things—only small things with great love.” ~Mother Teresa

1 comment:

  1. You sure are making me hungry with your soup entries!! I've never heard of a potato/tomato soup, but it looks delicious. Thanks for posting the recipe, too.Hmmm....we just can't seem to get food off our minds, can we? ;)


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