Thursday, January 20, 2011

My Mother and Her Bean Soup

I asked my mom some questions about the bean soup recipe I scribbled down from her.  I gave you a recipe; what she told me when I asked years ago was more like, "some carrots, some beans, enough water."  And then, just for fun, I asked my mom some more kitchen questions.

Margo: How did your bean soup recipe come to be?  I thought it was from Grandma.

Mom: I didn't like my mom's. It wasn't very tasty - beans and milk with bread. Came from Ohio, I think. I adapted mine from an Amish cookbook after tasting it in restaurants and I looked around until I found a recipe that came close to it.

Mom's Bean SoupSoak 2 c. dried navy beans in 2.5 quarts water.
Add 1 smoked ham hock.
Boil for at least an hour.  Beans should be starting to get soft.

1 onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
3 stalks celery with leaves, chopped
3 carrots, sliced
1-2 potatoes, diced [I omit these if I'm going to freeze the soup]
1 cup canned tomatoes with juice [I usually use 2 c.]
salt and pepper to taste [and maybe some Worcestershire sauce and cayenne]

My mother is much more attractive than bean soup - let's look at her.  This a spring Sunday evening, eating s'mores and messing around.

Margo: What would you serve with this soup to make it a meal?
Mom:  Crusty bread, cheese, pickles, or pickled red beets (something sour)

Margo: What's your favorite soup to make?
Mom: Probably potato soup.  Potatoes are my favorite food, the soup is thick and nourishing,  and I love the flavor of potato, celery, onion and sometimes hardboiled eggs.

My parents with their grandchildren.

Margo:  Describe your cooking style.
Mom:  Hmmmmm. . . probably no-frills, nourishing, hearty, maybe just plain-old, down-home, family-style cookin'.  I love to make old family favorites.  I like to make comfort food.  I probably make soup every week - I keep it on hand in the winter.

Two Naomi Ruths!

Margo:  Is there a cooking goal you haven't achieved yet?
Mom:  At this stage in life?  No. I like what I make and am open to new recipes that sound good, but I'm satisfied with how I cook.

****Shoestring Chic #2:  next Wednesday, January 26!  You get dressed every day, right?  Just take a few photos, blog about it, and share with us next Wednesday.*********


life in this 1880 farmhouse said...

Your mother is a beautiful woman and I am glad you are able to cherish things like cooking with her. Your sister looks more like your mom. Guess you have more of your dad in you?? Yet i can tell you are sisters. Nice to see these pictures and connect the family.

Oh and I was ready for Shoestring chics this week. Go figure!!

Rebecca said...

Your mama is beautiful. The bean soup with a green checked cloth is the very best of diner chic.

Christian - Modobject@Home said...

Oh, such sweet photos, and the soup sounds simple and delicious.

Jackie said...

That is pretty much the way I make mine, only I also (being from Louisiana) add bell pepper and garlic,too. yummy!

Deanna Beth said...

Oh my goodness, your dad has a doppleganger in my husband's family. Surely there is a Miller branch of his family?

Deanna Beth said...

BTW, do people who make bean soup NOT make ham and beans? If I want beans and have a ham hock, that is what I make. There is less liquid and I like the beans cooked until they are nice and soft and sort of mush around with the ham.

Margo said...

DB, no Millers that I know about!

As for ham and beans, I guess I don't make something called "ham and beans." Sometimes I use a ham hock to make split pea soup. Sometimes I put it with black beans and then we eat the beans over rice. I'd like to hear more about your ham and beans.

Tracy said...

Such a fun post, Margo! I loved the little interview with your mom.