My friend Larry was to be released from the hospital today. What better way to say “I care” than to take over a kettle of vegetable soup. My mother is staying with me a few days and the issue sparked a heated debate. Not that she thought it was a bad idea — it was my cooking of the vegetable soup. How could I possibly make vegetable soup without a head of cabbage?
Who is to say there is only one way to fix vegetable soup? I make an easy hamburger vegetable soup. When I opened a box of frozen peas my mother simply left the room.
My grandmother used to put (beef) neck bones in a kettle, boil, and let them simmer. Then she would skim the residue from the top. Major Yuck! Today we can just buy a can of beef consommé (stock).
I found out that my neighbor uses Tofu in her vegetable soup. Naturally it was a recipe she jotted down from The Food Television Channel. My friend Myrna swears by her microwave vegetable soup recipe. Vegetable soup in only twenty minutes for those who can’t wait.
I asked around the office and found more than one person willing to share their favorite vegetable soup recipe with me. It is interesting to note that no two recipes were alike.
The majority of recipes did call for the standard; carrots, lima beans, potato, tomato, green beans, corn, celery, onion, peas and yes a head of cabbage. A few recipes were unique adding rice, okra, red peppers, avocado and mushrooms, even a rutabaga.
Why was I worried about not adding the head of cabbage when no two of these recipes even called for the same meat. I could have put in lamb, sausage, ham, chicken, beef or no meat at all. Tom’s rendition of the time-honored hearty vegetable soup calls for one pound of frozen or fresh skinless cod fillets.
My co-worker Stella makes an herbal vegetable soup that you refrigerate and served chilled. The recipe calls for cucumbers, radishes, zucchini, and yogurt. Across the room from her, Betty gave me her recipe that has been in her family for years. It is served with dumplings.
Also in the office is Candy, who gave me her recipe for vegetable soup that originally, come from Finland and it calls for spinach. Charlotte gave me a vegetable soup recipe of her great aunt from Italy. It was a pasta vegetable soup.
What about this head of cabbage in the vegetable soup? Larry came home from the hospital and later that day I took over a crock of vegetable soup. It was a labor of love – but no cabbage.