Terri Kaiser

I can trace my love of cooking back to the very first dish I ever made. Truly, I can. It was a soup made of mud and snow, mixed up in the back end of a rusty toy dump truck. I didn’t taste it, but my little sister seemed to like it. And then I got in big trouble.

This time of the year when the air is crisp a bowl of soup goes a long way toward fixing all. A delicious, steaming bowl of meat and noodles or dumplings, veggies and broth, creamy or otherwise, is just the ticket to feeling all is right in the world.

My general go-to is a creamy corn and potato chowder made with bacon and onion. My mom made a version of it as we were growing up. I now make it with (forgive me for cheating) bacon bits you buy in a packet. The soup is less greasy that way and saves time.

Second on the list of soup faves is chili. Now, a true Texan may laugh themselves silly at what I call chili, but we like it. It’s simply canned tomato soup, hamburger, onion, kidney beans, chili powder, cumin, and lots of noodles. Cheddar cheese sprinkled on top when it’s done, and you’ve got a quick and easy bowl of yumminess.

When we were in Seattle, we had the best bowls of clam chowder ever. And we should have. It was Seattle for heaven's sake! I suppose there are other parts of the country that make a great clam chowder as well, but those in Seattle were as close to perfect as possible.

I make a taco soup that is to die for. It’s about the easiest soup I’ve ever made. In fact, I just made it this weekend to warm up my sisters and friends after an afternoon of snowshoeing. Honestly, it’s a matter of frying up the hamburger and adding in a ton of tomatoes and nearly every kind of bean out there. It’s great if you need a little fiber.

One year for Christmas dinner when it was especially cold outside, and the celebration was to be at our house, I made four types of soups served with fancy breads and cheeses. I had chicken dumpling, clam chowder, beef barley, and taco soup. Now doesn’t that sound like the perfect meal to gather the family around as we ponder the birth of the Christ child and look toward the new year? No? Hmmm, no one else thought so either. The idea didn’t go over so well, although they did think the soup was tasty.

My Grandma Prezak had a soup chart she used to create different soups that start with a roux of butter, flour and milk, the seasonings dependent on what vegetables are used. The recipe doesn’t call for any meat, but I usually add in cut up chicken.

If you’d like Grandma’s soup chart, mosey on over to my blog where I will be posting it sometime this week at https://lettersfrommuskyfalls.wordpress.com.

Also, and on another subject, I would also like to thank everyone for their support of my book, The Witness Tree. It has all been much appreciated. A new shipment arrived this last weekend and they are again available in Park Falls at Kayla’s Kitchen, Park Pharmacy, and Cindy’s Country Charm, and in Phillips at The 5 Senses and Homespun.

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