I understand that chicken soup is for the soul, but in my home it has always been veggie soup. Although not noticed at the time, it seems as if it is always there through the rough times. I have been reminded of this in the past few years by my daughter. She loves veggie soup and to her it has been her comfort, a sense of home- a warm hug at just the right moment. She is grounded by veggie soup. It wasn’t always quite like that. There were times when she didn’t like some of the ingredients and asked me to not put them in. Like onions or cabbage and so on. One time, I humored her and made two pots of soup. Hers, without the things she didn’t want and mine with everything. When she realized that it changed the broth she loved so much, she wasn’t happy. This was never asked for again. Other times if I used leftover beef or *gasp* canned potatoes, she would remind me that this was her soup.
Time and life moved on and we have moved forward to the next steps of our lives as expected. I am in Maine and she has been in Florida for a number of years. During times when she needs some mama love, she asks for veggie soup. I remind her that it is a little difficult to deliver that by phone or email. Anytime that we are together, there is always veggie soup on the menu by request. She needs a fix. A few years ago, we traveled by van with seven of us to Florida for another daughter’s wedding- a whirlwind trip and yup, canned veggie soup was tucked in around the luggage. I have mailed it in canning jars before this, successfully.
I have offered through the years to give her the recipe and she wasn’t interested. She also told me that I need to write it down since the recipe was in my head and I would take it with me when I pass. I wasn’t interested in doing that since I was not ready to go anywhere just yet. I bought a recipe album to create for her one day at any rate. It sat in my closet for a year or more.
I was sharing the story of the veggie soup to my husband when I remembered how veggie soup came to be. When I was a little girl visiting my grandmother, I saw her veggie soup in canning jars and was fascinated. I loved her veggie soup. She came to live with us some years later and we would talk about what was in it, but no recipe was ever written. Later in years when I was cooking for a family of my own, I thought of veggie soup. I realized my grandmother had passed away and took the recipe with her. Through trial and error, I succeeded in recreating it to what it is today. The recipe is technically mine, but it was inspired by my grandmother. By telling him this story, I realized that I have to write this recipe down. Being an auto-pilot cook, not measuring anything, this was not the easiest thing to do. I measured everything that I did, even sprinkling things on a paper plate so as to get a measurement. I also did a few of her other favorites and put them in the book. I gave her the book last year for Christmas. And just a few days ago, she sent these pictures and comments to me.
“Mom’s veggie soup! I used to have her make it and send it to me. Now I can make it here myself! My favorite food ever!”
It tugged on my heart to know that she needed this in her life, and more, that she is now cooking for her own family and passing it on. It feels like a family heirloom was created. Veggie soup did its job again. This time my daughter sent me the warm hug even though I didn’t know I needed it.
Get the handy printable and save it to your recipe box: Birdi’s Veggie Soup