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Monday, March 10, 2014

1894 Recipe for Winter Vegetable Soup

[Since I'm on deadline writing books for you to read, I hope you'll forgive me for reposting this blog from 2009.]

As I'm writing this blog, we're preparing for yet another winter storm, complete with snow, sleet AND freezing rain (sigh!), I'm craving comfort foods, warm foods. And soup fits both categories for me.

One of the hazards of writing historicals (at least for me) is my love of research and research books. I found The Original White House Cookbook 1887 Edition a few years ago on a list of clearance books. In it you can learn how to fix a tear in a lady’s silk gown, dye cloth, make Rose Water or Bay Rum, even fade freckles. The recipes are the type that would have been made in homes everywhere at that time, including by settlers out west.

This Winter Vegetable Soup is made with ingredients that would be found in the root cellar of most frontier homes. Turnips, carrots, onions and celery were common vegetables grown in kitchen gardens throughout the west. 

The leeks? They may not be as common, but I’ve found evidence they can be grown in Texas - plant them in late summer and they can be harvested fresh in the winter/early spring.

As an aside, the leek is a symbol of Wales. It’s even worn as a cap badge by the Welsh Guards. The vegetable would certainly have been brought over in the 1830s by Welsh immigrants to Texas.

Now for the soup. NOTE: The directions are exactly as they appear in the cookbook.

WINTER VEGETABLE SOUP
Scrape and slice three turnips and three carrots, and peel three onions, and fry all with a little butter until a light yellow; add a bunch of celery and three or four leeks cut in pieces; stir and fry all the ingredients for six minutes; when fried, add one clove of garlic, two stalks of parsley, two cloves, salt, pepper and a little grated nutmeg; cover with three quarts of water and simmer for three hours, taking off the scum carefully.  Strain and use. Croutons, vermicelli, Italian pastes, or rice may be added.


I hope you enjoy the soup! Stay warm!!!

11 comments:

  1. Love these old recipes. I also have found many in old books and newspapers. Fun to read and a chance to taste the favorites of our ancestors. Doris

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    1. Good morning, Doris! Are you like me--I see a recipe that looks good and clip it--knowing full well I'll never try it. lol

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    2. Usually, but somehow I do manage to try some of them, or use them in a story. *Grin*

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  2. Cloves and nutmeg? With onions? Hmmm. I did try a rutabaga dish that used nutmeg and it was good. Not a big cloves fan, though they're often used with carrots. I love these old recipes!

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    2. I use nutmeg with almost everything. A little goes a long way though, just like cloves. Our favorite potato-leek soup uses nutmeg.

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  3. It sounds delicious. I've used in nutmeg in conjunction with cinnamon in some stews, and it really gives a deep, rich undertone.

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  4. Tracy, I would probably make this for myself, sans celery, but my husband doesn't eat any kind of vegetable soup (I grew up on it and still love it today!) I always think it's interesting to see how people managed--what they cooked, how they cleaned things, etc. "back in the day"-- I DO clip a lot of recipes thinking that they really look good, etc. but most often don't ever make them. My mom did the same thing. I think it's a "woman" thing. LOL
    Cheryl

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    1. My mom has a drawer full of them, too.

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  5. What a marvelous clearance find. I love soup. Thanks for the recipe. I like the part where it says "a bunch of celery". I love watching Alaska, The Last Frontier and Eve who is quite the knowledgeable garden. She raises a hundred pounds each of carrots, turnips, potatoes and a lot of other vegetables that can be kept in their root cellar over winter--Alaska winter no less.
    Good blog, Tracy.

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  6. I'm a huge soup lover and soup maker! On the ranch we serve a lot of soups. I have an old Monarch stove that has a 'deep well.' With all the odd pieces of beef and pork we cut up, it's easy to keep a minestrone or beans on hand, esp. in the winter!! Our new business, Jenner Family Beef, just participated in a fund-raising event called the "SOUPER BOWL" and we competed against other producers/businesses/restaurants. It was great fun....

    I know that the old-timers here fixed a lot of soup, too. Easy to make and store or freeze and a great way to cook up veggies in the summertime! And I love leeks...in Italy my cousin serves up a lot of leeks....and leek and potato soup is wonderful.

    Now I'm getting hungry!! :-)

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