The Importance of Being Soup: Saving Leftovers Is NO Joking Matter

I apologize for not posting on Sunday as scheduled.  Our area has seen two snowstorms in the last week and our Internet had been out.



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There is a place in our household where all forgotten leftovers eventually must go…(in earnest) it is the soup pot…

During my childhood I could look forward to beef stew or chicken noodle soup on a rare winter occasion, but most of the soup that I ate came from a can.  I didn’t realize until a few years ago that people do make tomato soup homemade and did not consume the congealed red stuff from my youth–who knew?!   Apparently this soup thing has and is fairly important, we have great literature inspired by it (Stone Soup), slang sidles up to it (in the soup, soup up), restaurants present it daily (soup du jour), and our nation was fed by it during the Great Depression and is still today (soup kitchens).  

In my house it has become a ritual and weekly meal.  Why?

Soup is easy.  Soup does not take an expert to make–a broth, some odds and ends cut into whatever shape they may take, simmer and voila!  Soups on!  

Soup is frugal.  Soup can be very expensive if you choose expensive ingredients.  However, most frugal folks use whatever is seasonal and/or on hand.  Soup staples are very often healthful as well as inexpensive, e.g. beans, lentils, barley, vegetables.  When making soup use what you have.  If you are a meat-eater–use meat as an addition rather than the main event to make your soup even more thrifty.  You won’t even notice if you simmer it long enough.

Soup conceals and reuses leftovers.  Saturday soup is not my original idea–I read about it in a book and have been unable to find the source.  On Saturdays gather all of your leftovers from the week (pasta, rice, beans, meat, vegetables, spaghetti sauce, whatever pleases you) and simmer them in a pot of broth.  If you need to make the soup heartier add pearl barley.

Soup reuses your garbage.  Your grandmother (or maybe your great-grandmother) made soup stock from leftover bones and vegetables scraps.  You can do the same.  I have a lidded “garbage” bowl in my freezer for left over peels and vegetable scraps.  These become my flavoring for making soup stock.  The Internet is full of recipes for creating a stock if you need a good recipe before you dare go the “garbage” route.  Don’t fret if you must buy a starter broth. I’m a working mom too and I always have some on hand in a pinch.  (*My family tries our best to eat organic and so I would recommend organic vegetables for making soup stock out of peels. Many of the harmful chemicals from industrial farming are highest in content on the skins of fruits and vegetables.)  

Soup stretches.  My parents our kindly helping us remodel our major fixer-upper of a home.  They came down last week, last minute, to help with a skylight issue while the weather was still good.  Saturday soup ironically was on the menu for that Monday night.  No problem!  I added some more stock, a few more veggies, and of course some pearl barley.  Apparently it was a good mix of leftovers, my mom asked for the recipe.  That was a hard one to figure out, but I think I gave her enough to try to recreate my Saturday/Monday “leftover” soup. 

Soup feeds the soul.I will never be able to explain it as well and so I won’t…

“I have never been a millionaire. But I have enjoyed a great meal, a crackling fire, a glorious sunset, a walk with a friend, a hug from a child, a cup of soup, a kiss behind the ear.  There are plenty of life’s tiny delights for us all.” 

 –Jack Anthony

My favorite soup is tomato-basil…and country lima bean stew…and taco…and

What is your favorite soup?


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