My Homemade Mother's Day Gift

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Mom's "Potato Soup"

I remember 2 things about being sick as a little kid.  

1. Mom didn't clean up puke. If you made a mess, sick or not, you cleaned it up.
2. Potato Soup.

Number one memory is an effective deterrent to indiscriminate spewing .  

Put an 8 year old on cleaning up that mess just one time and they'll make it to the toilet.  They''ll get that miserable churning feeling and they'll hang over the toilet for an hour just waiting for it to happen so as not to be surprised in the middle of a restless sleep with projectile vomiting all over themselves, their hair, their bed clothes and their pillows, 

I remember the last time I heaved the ill-fated contents of my undigested meal in every direction but the bathroom  that mom walked in and saw my hair dripping with putrid globs and my bedclothes sprayed with gelatinous goo, and numerous puddles of vomitus maximus.  She looked around, gagged a couple of times and handed me a stack of clean sheets, a soapy bucket of Lysol water and a roll of paper towels.  When you get that all cleaned up take a bath and put on clean jammies and make sure everything gets put in the washing machine. She turned on her heel and walked out. I couldn't crawl in bed with my sister.  She'd just start yelling and Mom would return in bad humor.  

Its no less disgusting a job to clean up your own puke than it is to clean up someone else's.  Very effective tool.  To this day, I wait, sitting on the bathroom floor, head propped over the toilet for the inevitable eruption whenever I get that dreadful churning.  No last minute marathon sprints, trying to beat the barf.  I'm there, prepared, hair tied back, wash cloth near by, toothbrush and mouthwash at the ready. Mom would be proud.

The other thing I remember was when I'd get sick, she'd always make us potato soup.  It was warm and full of flavor and easy on the stomach and soothing to a body unable to digest anything. Nothing would sound good but she'd give us a small cup of homemade potato soup, just a little bit and you'd feel better, warmer and stronger.  

When I grew up and got married, I also made potato soup for my family when they fell prey to some sort of debilitating illness.  The best part is, its a very simple soup.  It was all fresh, natural ingredients and you can make it almost as fast as you can open up a can of soup.  Peel a few potatoes and cut into quarters, enough to fill 2/3's of a pot, any size pot, depending on how much you want to make.  Fill the other third with chopped onions.and chopped celery, Add salt, pepper, and a little paprika to taste and cover with water and a spoonful of chicken base or use chicken broth instead.  Cook it 20 minutes and blend in a blender.  Add butter.  Serve.Its also really good with a little bit of left over chicken and a spoonful of beer cheese stirred into it, topped with a few croutons, if you're so inclined.

I've recently made a few changes to mom's soup.  Mom would add a stick of butter to a big pot of soup,  I learned to add none when I'm watching calories.  I might add a blast of  I can't believe its not butter spray for flavor but usually I add hot sauce. And lately I've made one other change that doesn't effect the taste at all.  I no longer use potatoes in my "potato" soup.  I use a head of cauliflower. 

I'm not against potatoes but I try to limit my carbs and/or calories. I just made a pot tonight because my husband is feeling a little under the weather.  I was amazed how much it smelled like mom's potato soup.  

I also use an immersion blender.  Less mess and less likelihood of sustaining 2nd and 3rd degree burns trying to ladle boiling hot broth and vegetables into a blender and hold the lid on while it blended.  I recall at least once the lid blew off and my face and hands were dotted with little red blisters for at least a week.  After that I learned to never fill the blender more than 2/3's full.  

But its still a good tradition.  I think my daughter also makes the soup... and she still uses potatoes.  But she tried my mock potato soup and was also impressed.

I miss my mom.  Everyday I think of something I'd like to tell her, or ask her.  I think of something that she'd get a kick out of.  And I especially think of her when my husband says, "I'm not feeling well, I'm going to go lay down."

"I'll make us some potato soup for dinner."

Just like my mom used to make for me.