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.
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
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.