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Subject: Grandma McQuown's Potato Soup (for Stan)
Newsgroups: rec.food.cooking

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From: Jill McQuown 
Date: Sun, 1 Jul 2001 11:33:15 -0500
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Grandma Lena Ruffner is the German side of my family; this is a Pennsylvania
Dutch style soup.

4-5 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/4 c. finely chopped onion
1/2 tsp. pepper
salt as needed
4 c. chicken stock or water
water to cover potatoes
2 slices bacon, fried (not too crisp)
Rivlets (see recipe)

To make the soup:  bring stock or water to a boil and add onions, potatoes
and other seasonings.  Boil about 20 minutes until potatoes are tender.
Stir in cooked bacon.  Stir in rivlets until they are done.  Serves 6.

Rivlets:

3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 large egg

Combine flour and salt.  Mix in egg until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

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From: Michael 
Date: Sun, 1 Jul 2001 21:23:20 -0700
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I can't wait to try this one.  Thanks for the recipe.. even though it's for
Stan.

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From: Jill McQuown 
Date: Mon, 2 Jul 2001 08:58:14 -0500
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Dog 3 wrote:
> I can't wait to try this one.  Thanks for the recipe.. even though it's for

Hope you enjoy it!  Grandma made this soup with water; I'm the one who added
the chicken stock.  It was a (USian) depression era soup so she was being
conservative and didn't have chicken to make stock with.  Lucky she had the
egg for the rivlets!  But that was a way of "stretching" the soup, adding
the dumplings, so I guess an egg wasn't too dear.

The last time I saw my grandmother before she died she invited my mom and my
aunt and I to lunch and she served potato soup with rivlets.  Oh joy!  I was
19 years old at the time.

Dad kept talking about this wonderful potato soup his mom made.  When I was
30-something I finally managed to duplicate it to his satisfaction and
that's what you see posted here.  She rarely wrote things down and when she
did they often didn't make much sense (laughing).  I'm still reeling over
the directions that say "butter the size of a walnut" for her fabulous
candy.

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From: Scrooge 
Date: Mon, 02 Jul 2001 15:50:44 GMT
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> the directions that say "butter the size of a walnut" for her fabulous
> candy.

"Size of a walnut" was a fairly standard measure for my mom and
grandma.

The one that really laid me out was in the oatmeal cookie recipe,
which called for (I'm NOT making this up) "Two gurgles of
molasses".

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From: Damsel in dis Dress 
Date: Mon, 02 Jul 2001 16:07:31 GMT
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Scrooge wrote:
>The one that really laid me out was in the oatmeal cookie recipe,
>which called for (I'm NOT making this up) "Two gurgles of
>molasses".

That would blow me away, too.  Everyone knows that molasses comes out of
the bottle in "glugs!"  Sheesh!  Some people's grandmothers!  

Damsel, who measures in glugs

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From: Stan Horwitz 
Date: 2 Jul 2001 18:02:28 GMT
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Damsel in dis Dress wrote:
> That would blow me away, too.  Everyone knows that molasses comes out of
> the bottle in "glugs!"  Sheesh!  Some people's grandmothers!  

I am looking forward to making up a batch of the potato soup.
How recipes ever managed to be passed from one generation of a
family to the next is amazing considering how few of them are
written down with precise directions and ingredient quantities.

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From: Michael Edelman 
Date: Mon, 02 Jul 2001 14:42:51 -0400
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Stan Horwitz wrote:
> How recipes ever managed to be passed from one generation of a
> family to the next is amazing considering how few of them are
> written down with precise directions and ingredient quantities.

Prior to the late 19th century, few if any recipes had proportions or
directions of any sort. The techniques for cooking were passed on in
apprenticeships and in families. You didn't learn Grandma's pie from a
written recipe. You learned it from Grandma. 

Ever read Apicius' books? They're the model for centuries of recipes.
"Take some lovage, and cumin, and silphium as well as pepper and salt
and crush it in a good amount or wine and oil; in this, boil whatever
meat you choose..." etc.

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From: sghesquire[at]aol.combuboe (SGH Esquire)
Date: 02 Jul 2001 21:29:09 GMT
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This is probably a good soup.  After all, the McQuowns posed for "The Potato
Eaters."

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From: penmart01[at]aol.como (Sheldon)
Date: 02 Jul 2001 20:06:59 GMT
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Damsel in dis Dress wrote:
>That would blow me away, too.  Everyone knows that molasses comes out of
>the bottle in "glugs!"  Sheesh!  Some people's grandmothers!  
>
>Damsel, who measures in glugs

Mine comes with half dozen big "spurts" and then a few gurgles of glugs.

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From: Damsel in dis Dress 
Date: Mon, 02 Jul 2001 22:31:32 GMT
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Sheldon wrote:
>Mine comes with half dozen big "spurts" and then a few gurgles of glugs.

Are we still talking about molasses, dear?  ;-)

Damsel the Innocent

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From: Gargoylle 
Date: Mon, 02 Jul 2001 18:14:45 -0500
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Damsel in dis Dress wrote:
>Are we still talking about molasses, dear?  ;-)
>Damsel the Innocent

You're about as innocent as my name is Gar. 

(trying to remember name)

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From: connieg999[at]aol.com (ConnieG999)
Date: 02 Jul 2001 19:35:23 GMT
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Jill McQuown writes:
>Hope you enjoy it!  Grandma made this soup with water; I'm the one who added
>the chicken stock.

Oh, THANK you for saying that! My greatgrandmother was old-world German and my
Grandmother was only slightly more "Americanized." (I lived with them when I
was small.)  The potato soup in her house was EXACTLY like yours except for the
chicken broth...and I was wondering why the difference. My Great GM could (and
needed to) squeeze a penny until it screamed, and I know that potato soup was
one of the cheapest meals around to feed us all. She would never have used good
chicken stock in her potato soup! She made chicken noodle soup with homemade
noodles with her stock and the shreds of chicken gleaned from the necks and
backs used to make the stock. (G) We were fortunate enough to have chickens in
the yard; we had plenty of eggs and chicken meat. I have many of those
"depression era" recipes floating around, and ONE very old German cookbook. I
wish I could have saved more of her "in my head" recipes before she died. 

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From: Stan Horwitz 
Date: 3 Jul 2001 15:55:58 GMT
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Jill, I am looking forward to making your soup recipe. I wonder though,
have you tried adding any corn to the soup? It seems to me like a cup of
corn would go well in that soup. Also, when you make your grandmother's
potato soup, do you usually have any left over to eat another day? This
soup seems like it would be one of those things that tastes better the day
after its made, like chicken soup does. 

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From: Jill McQuown 
Date: Wed, 4 Jul 2001 13:00:39 -0500
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Stan Horwitz wrote:
> Jill, I am looking forward to making your soup recipe. I wonder though,
> have you tried adding any corn to the soup? It seems to me like a cup of
> corn would go well in that soup. Also, when you make your grandmother's
> potato soup, do you usually have any left over to eat another day? This
> soup seems like it would be one of those things that tastes better the day
> after its made, like chicken soup does.

Oh yes, this was a nice large-ish (word?) pot of soup that served about 6-8
people (if you only ate one bowl *and* had a slice of her homemade bread
with butter!).  I've never added corn to it but if I did it would certainly
be a close match to the corn chowder served at my parents 50th anniversary
dinner :)  Yes, when I make it I have leftovers so it's best the next day.
But who can resist a bowl when it's fresh out of the pot? 


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