Something as simple as potato soup can bring back great memories of family or history (depending on who we each are). That is one of our favorite connections to the kitchen is the ability to inspire thought, conversation and fulfill us. From the ones we create, to the ones we remember a simple recipe can conjure up early Sunday mornings cooking with grandma learning how to stuff ravioli or make a sauce with the joy and love that we were shown. Taking the time to pass on a lineage such as a “family recipe” is a cool thing to be apart of, to be honored with the “family recipe” that has been passed on for generations and having the ability to add to it and pass to the next is something of familia legend. Though the world may not know who Uncle Eddy was who decided to add balsamic vinegar to the pizza dough for his family recipe, but they will hear the store for generations.
But why potato soup today, why on a random snowy Metro Detroit day in January do we cook up a simple recipe that can allow for creation and modern twists? The reason is because it reminds of of simple times when people would have to stretch potatoes to feed more people than a mash. When the left over table scraps and vegetables would be minced up to add a bit of flavor to the water and potato mixture that would eventually become something much more.
From utilizing a chicken base with your soup or a cream base to make a rich flavor there are endless combinations to a simple recipe. That is the joy that we see when we have ingredients in the kitchen. Its more than just food, its the history behind the recipe, those that have sat in kitchens all around the world for hundreds of years to combine flavors to feed the masses.
Sometimes out of necessity and despair to feed as many as they could, to the privileged few who were able to taste recipes we take for granted in our daily lives. Just the ability to go to the grocery store and get the herbs and spices needed for an endless array of dishes would be something almost impossible to describe to someone a mere hundred years ago. Even if we look back to the 1940s which was a little over seventy years ago (less than a lifetime) we can see how hard fresh produce (other than local) was hard to find, herbs and spices were still generic and costly to many. Now we have an array that allows our imaginations to push the limits of our kitchens and our taste buds.
Allowing someone with no knowledge or training to learn how to cook with merely a cellphone and the basics allows us to expand our knowledge. Its this idea that cooking can come from anywhere, whether traditionally trained or raw talent; greatness can be found. Its this idea of a simplistic soup that can allow for so many local variations, memories and the basics it meets that allows us to expand on one simple idea.
Next time your at dish, think of where it came from, the thought involved and how many generations it has passed on from. Though we like to think of ourselves as unique, many have come before us, eaten potato soup on a cold winter day. But none have had our experience, our memories or are joy. Just as that potato soup can change and yet be the same, so are our lives and our memories.
Potato Soup – A Memory