Saturday, October 17, 2009

Taking tomorrow off. Soup's On at Mike's

Not going far tomorrow but I am taking the afternoon off. Yes, it is Sunday but I do have a habit of working 7 days a week. Either that or clean the house. Give me work anyday. My brother invited me for Sunday early dinner with his family. He asked what I wanted and I told him. Home made soup and home made noodles.

When my Grandmother was alive, every Sunday we would have her home made soup and home made noodles. IMHO, there is nothing better than a good bowl of home made soup and none of that fancy soup stuff. Good old peasant not pheasant. Peasant soup.

My brother Mike makes it on Sundays from time to time.

My Grandmother would do her soups a little different than most. She never chopped anything up. Started with a big chuck roast and some soup bones. Brought them to a boil, skimmed the broth and let it simmer for a few hours. Then she tied fresh dill and parsley and whatever herbs she might want to add with a string and dropped it into the pot with the bones and beef still in the pot. It was always a huge pot, the size you boil lobsters in or bigger.

Next she put in whole peeled potatoes, whole carrots, maybe some parsnips, some celery and a whole onion. Simmered it till the veggies were cooked. She did the salt and pepper but often dumped some pickle juice in the soup to sour it up a bit and give it flavor. She would season it up and let it simmer.

Noodles were nothing but flour and eggs. No water. A bit of salt. Made the dough to rollable consistency, rolled it out thin then let it dry on newspapers in sheets. Then she would cut it in strips, layer the strips and slice the noodles, fluff them up with her hands, let them dry a bit more and boil them. When they floated, they were done.

She would take the big hunk of chuck out of the soup and the bones. She would plate that up and then plate up the veggies. You took what you wanted., You wanted carrots, you took one, sliced it in your bowl with whatever else you wanted. You then added noodles and broth. She always had a bowl of pickled cauliflower and onions and pickles you could put into your soup. Oh, and only white pepper. I got the pickles in my soup thing from her. We were the only two who sliced pickles in our soup.

But the treat, called szpik You mashed a potato, put a hunk of butter in it, never oleo (that was never allowed in the was butter or lard only), shredded up some of the soup meat and then took some marrow from the bones and mixed it all together. You ate it like that or spread it on some home made bread.

This happened every Sunday. She would have her whole family over. Gram would go to the early 7 o'clock mass, come home and start cooking. It was all done by around 1PM and everyone showed up. One of her last meals she made before she died was chicken soup. I rememember my father brought some to our house (we ended up moving out of theirs and moved across the street when I was around 4) and I could not bring myself to eat it.

My own family made Sunday soup after she died. It tasted the same but was never the same. I left home about 3 years after she died and my brother learned to make the soup from my father who was a far better cook than my mother was. She would murder her food and everything tasted like overdone cardboard.

I made a big pan of brownies to take to Mikes and plan on enjoying Grandmother's version of soup for the first time in over 40 plus years.

Soup to me is good food, very comforting and I love it. Not really the fancy soups like pureed cauliflower or cream of this and that, but good old throw the chicken or beef or even pork in the pot and some veggies and enjoy!

Hope the szpik did not gross you out. We always ate marrow. Marrow is a big thing in European cooking. Most of those traditions have been lost in our contemporary American cooking. But if you read anything about Julia Child, she used a lot of marrow.

I don't really eat it much anymore. My dogs give me the evil eye when I mess with marrow bones. That is their territory.


The Chilly Hollow Needlepoint Adventure said...

It sounds delicious! Since it is cold and wet and dreary here, maybe I'll make Italian Vegetable Stew from the Washington Post's food section, something I always enjoy reading each Wednesday....

Thanks for the memories, Sharon!

lewmew said...

I grew up in a European family too. My first husband was not a foodie and a lot of it grossed him out. This one loves food - and is willing to try all that weird stuff my family loves so much - thanks for the memories!

SharonG Needlepoint said...

I love European food and an so happy I was interested in what my Grandmother did in her kitchen. I remember the smells. MY ex hated that poor folks food. He was an expensive steak and roast man. Vince is pretty good about eating my meals. He is first generation American and is Lithuanian heritage. He grew up in a house where his Mother cooked their traditional dishes.