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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Soup that Dad made



When I was ten years old, sixty odd years ago,  the world was more calm than now.  We went to school, came home, went out to play.  Mom was always there when we went in the house; dads did not come home until supper time.

One day early in September I came home from fifth grade, ahead of my brother Walt in the third grade and Mel in kindergarten.  I always beat them home; they had too many rocks and sticks to handle, gutters to investigate.

My dad was home!  Not Mom.  Dad!  He said he was waiting for Grandma to come from Cleveland and sent me out to wait for my brothers.  Our Grandma worked too, in the baby department of the Higbee Department Store on Public Square in Cleveland. 

Grandma had not arrived when three kids gave over playing and trouped back into the house behaving like hungry children.  Our dad came into the kitchen and announced he would make supper for us.  This was such a novelty we stayed to watch.

Dad found a tall pot and filled it pretty full with water, put it on the stove, put on the lid, lighted the fire and waited for the pot to boil.  He took a package of ground beef from the refrigerator, broke it into chunks and put it in the pot.

He looked in the refrigerator for some vegetables to cut up into the pot.  All he found was a stalk of celery, so he cut most of that up and put it in.  While the meat and celery simmered he opened and closed cupboard doors until he found a package of macaroni.  He put that in, and stirred the pot occasionally.  Then he told us to set the table for soup, and we did.

That big pot of soup, with milk and bread, was the best soup we ever ate.  Then our grandma came and dad left.  Grandma cleaned the kitchen, then put us to bed.  The next morning we got up for school and Grandma told us we had a baby sister.

One night some time later one of the three of us who could talk asked for soup like Dad made for supper.  We had to explain the ingredients. “That’s just depression soup!” Mom sniffed.  We out clamored her, and there was Daddy Soup for supper.  Of Mom’s meals, Daddy Soup and Swiss steak with mashed potatoes were the meals we requested.

Daddy Soup persists, unchanged, past the Grandpa Soup generation.  It was Grandpa Soup, for years and still is; easier to say than Great-Grandpa Soup.  It has been experimented with, but returns to the original—ground beef, celery and pasta.  We had a big pot of Grandpa Soup on Jan’s birthday this week and told Laura and Emily why it is called Grandpa Soup.


Some of the Grandpa Soup generation, fall 1976. Michelle, Roy, John, Shelly, Beth and Dad.

20 comments:

  1. My mom made depression soup. She could make turkey carcass celery and rice last for a month. Only differance is we ate it but did not like it.

    Funny what we remember...nice story.

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  2. I'll be right over with my bowl, spoon and checkered bib. Thanks for having us all to supper!

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  3. What a brilliant memory. My father rarely cooked, and my only real memory is of how much mess he made. I remember it clearly because it was a rule that the cook did not wash (or dry) the dishes.

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  4. Wonderful memory!
    My dad NEVER cooked. I don't remember him doing anything in the kitchen except bring home treat-type stuff. Cookies, ice cream. Yum.
    After Mom passed, he had a pretty steep learning curve. He does pretty well . . .

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  5. This is so wonderful! Your dad must have been a concept cook. I always need a recipe. I've never heard of Depression Soup, but it sounds delicious.

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  6. What a great great story - Daddy soup and a brand new baby sister! There is perfection about it. My Dad made pancakes and waffles for Friday night suppers -- occasionally! And occasionally he'd do scrambled eggs and bacon. Lovely picture, too.

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  7. What a fabulous story Jo. Food is so tied up in family memories. hugs, Olive

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  8. Never in my life have I eaten or made soup with ground beef (which we call mince) in it. Dad would never have thought of it either. I don't think Dad ever made soup of any kind. Any mince in our house was made into hamburgers. Dad would soak some stale bread in milk (urk) then mix it into the mince with egg and chopped onions, then he'd shape patties and fry them for our dinner. Sometimes we'd have them on bread with sauce and extra fried onion, sometimes we'd have them on a plate with instant mashed potatoes and sauce. If he remembered he'd open a tin of peas too.

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  9. Great story and great memories.
    We had soup made with mince, turnips and carrots when with the family in Scotland...it was delicious!
    Father had two specialities...vinegar soup...beef bone soup with veg and as tiny touch of vinegar...and cheese and potato pie. Luckily he washed up his utensils too!

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  10. What an amazing memory. So good that you pass the story down, along with the soup, to each generation. I hope it goes on. My Dad cooked whitefish fillets.....

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  11. Wonderful memories. My dad could cook...but only one dish, corned beef hash which he would serve with HP Sauce, it was delicious; unfortunately he always served it with processed peas and tinned carrots, which were vile, and he insisted that we eat them.

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  12. You've got about 10 years on me. My mom was always home but never there when we got home from school. She was always in her room, door closed, taking her nap. She didn't usually get up until an hour or so before our father was due to get home which was about 7 PM. I realize now that she was probably suffering from depression as so many women were back then. She had a whole drawer full of 'mother's little helpers'. as for the soup, something so common would never have been allowed in our house. But when we were raising our kids and living on a working artist's income, we often had Leftover Soup.All leftovers went in a container until we had enough for soup and that was our dinner that night. Sometimes it was pretty good but sometimes it was pretty terrible.

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  13. Dad was a chef but changed jobs (no money in cooking in those days). He always cooked our special Friday night meal and it was looked forward to! He could open a 'bare' cupboard and make something delicious.
    Jane x

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  14. The soup story sounded so good I needed to have some, my version of Dad's homemade soup!

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  15. I have never heard of making soup with raw hamburger either. I'm sure that almost any combination of pasta and meat would be
    good to a hungry kid!

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  16. I loved reading that story - you told it well.

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  17. Thanks for the great memory of the day I was born!

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  18. Wow! What a great story and I'm impressed with your dad's soup-making abilities. I think the best thing my dad ever made, which was usually when I was feeling sick, was egg in a cup. But it's funny how you remember those special, out of the blue meals. Great post!

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  19. ha! my dad who made this in the depression called it bum soup.

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