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Fortifying the Broth

Fall arrived after a long, hot summer. The day was gloriously cool, and I desired soup. Not mushy canned soup but a vat of lovingly peeled and pared vegetables coaxed into a heavenly mélange like Aunt Hazel made for son, Andy, who begged her for it after a week of the flu.

For some reason, It has never occurred to me to buy fresh veggies for making soup. One exception. Cutting calories while visiting my sister Sue, I wanted her to experience the world-famous, slimming, Cabbage soup. (The soul of simplicity, it contains no starchy vegetables, no salty bouillon cubes, and gets filled out with mounds of fresh shredded cabbage.) We shopped and the bill came to $75.00 with the cabbage staying true to thrifty form at a mere $1.25. Low-cal and skinny desserts somehow had found their way into our cart.

In soup making mode, the other chilly day, I noted that my produce drawer was almost depleted. Even my trusty canned selection yielded only baby corn on the cob, bean sprouts and of all the surprises, Jerusalem artichokes. I remembered mother, Olive, making many a meal from what seemed like an empty cupboard, so I cleared the decks, and set to work.

I dumped one box of chicken stock into a saucepan and added a chopped onion. The pan was too small so I transferred the whole thing to a roomy stock pot, added the second quart of stock, denuded strings from two limp celery stalks, scraped two old carrots, and in they went. I tossed in a frozen pack of stir fry veggies, unearthed frozen green beans, lima beans, squash, and added them. The soup needed substance, so I added the contents of half a sack of brown lentils. It still looked watery and lackluster so a dash of color was called for. I dug deep beneath a slab of what might have been left-over from last Thanksgiving and found a large pack of frozen peas. I tipped it over and the contents of the entire bag hit the pot like green buckshot. I seasoned, sniffed, and simmered but no delectable aroma drifted from the pot. The vegetables under heat had become unrecognizable. I found a third bottle of wine behind the cooking oil in the fridge and poured myself a glass.

Cooking triumphs and mishaps always create fun anecdotes at family gatherings. Check out journals by They are designed for you to record various cooking ventures so start today. Details grow more diminished than old bags of things (?) from the freezer.

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