Friends for Soup
the Local Table
written by: Bradley Jean
I am not one to choose favorites, but in the genre of seasons, Fall is at the top. I love all the vibrant colors and all the warm food! Fall is the perfect time of year to hang out in the kitchen and serve up something hearty and tasty!
It’s also the perfect season to hang out with friends and share new recipes. As the trend for “Friends-giving” catches on, we see folks setting aside time from their work and gathering together for the sole purpose of catching up, enjoying fellowship and sharing a warm meal.
We are in a busier place and time than just ten and twenty years ago. We have more activities and do much more running around than ever before. So when then, do we decide to stop and celebrate each other?
Laura McKay and Jenny Galimore met over 10 years ago while teaching together at a local pre-school. Laura recalls one of the first things that sparked their friendship was food.
“We spent our day with 2-year-olds, but somehow we usually ended up talking about the next meal we were cooking.”
Jenny agrees, “soon after we started teaching together we would start talking about what we were making for dinner that night. Laura started sharing some of her recipes with me, and I quickly found out I had hit the jackpot with this friend who was an amazing cook!”
One of the first recipes Laura shared was Vegetable Soup. Both women, having small children at the time and busy husbands, found this dish to be a winner among everyone.
Jenny says, “from the moment I got this recipe from Laura and made it I knew it was going to be on our dinner rotation. I love it, because it makes a huge pot which can be shared or frozen for another meal. It also sneaks in lots of veggies that my children might not eat otherwise. An added bonus is that it can be made in the crock pot.”
The idea of recipe sharing is almost becoming a lost art. With the creation of Pinterest and easy to find Google searches, women actually writing and sharing a recipe is forgotten.
I was given my grandmothers recipe box years after her passing. When ever I open it and see her writing, and the years of wear on her cards, I’m taken back to her kitchen, ages ago, and can almost see her labor and love over her food.
And how often do we actually cook together with our friends? Laughing, dicing and sharing all of life. I’m almost jealous of the ladies from long ago, I’m certain every joy and tear was shared in a kitchen and over food, coffee or tea.
“Cooking with a friend just makes it even better,” says Laura. “It also feels like working together to accomplish something and the end result, a tasty meal, gets to be enjoyed together. I think women cook less in general because everyone is so busy, but I think we are missing out on a lot of fellowship. Taking the time to slow down and share a meal together, from start to finish, allows for more time to really enjoy each other’s company.”
Jenny says, “I feel like we have so many distractions these days that keep us from being able to get together and cook or share a home cooked meal. Recipes and food are something we all love and enjoy! Sitting around a table with family and friends that you love and having conversations while eating make cooking and preparing those recipes all worthwhile. As your children get older, lots of conversations happen around the dinner table. The same is true for friends, we learn a lot about one another through dinner table conversations.”
What a unique gift as well, when a recipe has been handed through many women. Laura recalls this recipe was originally passed to her from her mom. Her mom got it from her best friend who got it from her mother-in-law. Laura says it makes it even sweeter knowing a recipe has been passed through many women who don’t even know each other.
What special ladies are you gathering with this thankful season? Perhaps it’s a good time to think out of our busy norm and prepare something simple and warm with our dear friends.
Call up someone you miss, invite them over for soup and celebrate each other!
Vegetable Beef Soup
2 lbs. meat (you can use ground beef, venison, boneless chuck roast cut into cubes or ham)
3 beef bouillon cubes dissolved in 1 cup water
2 cups tomato juice
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 carrots, sliced
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup celery chopped
1 can whole kernel corn
1 can cream style corn
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 can butterbeans (or fresh)
Other options for vegetables are okra (I’ve used fresh or frozen), green beans canned or fresh, and English peas
5 cups water
1 tablespoon Worcestershire
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
Brown meat in stock pot, no need to use oil.
Add liquids and fresh vegetables and seasonings. Cover and simmer about 2 hours (less if needed, carrots and potatoes are last to get done)
Add canned vegetables last. Do not drain the canned vegetables. Simmer for 30 minutes to an hour.
Recipe courtesy of Laura McKay
Content: Bradley Jean
Photography: Amy Leigh Tomas