Food for the Poor

Sometimes it’s the day before payday and you have next to nothing.  Sometimes it’s just been a really hard week and you’re tired of hearing bad news.  So, poor, or just poor in spirit, you must eat something that doesn’t require a trip to the grocery store or a lot of effort.

Soup.  Cheap.  Comforting.  Easy.

This is soup for one, so just multiply if you’re feeding more than you.

Peel a potato and cut into large chunks.  Add a quarter of a peeled an onion.  (How big a potato?  How big an onion?  Don’t worry, doesn’t matter, you’ll see).  Put into a pot and add enough water to not quite cover.  Bring to a boil then simmer until tender.  While that is simmering, think about what else you can add.  Do you like broccoli or cauliflower?  Spinach, kale?  Corn?  The cruciferae you’ll want to add after the simmer has been going for a couple of minutes, because you’ll want those to be as tender as the potatoes, but fresh kale or spinach or corn won’t take but a minute or two.  If you have greens that will do well with a longer simmer (mustard greens, collards) you might want to (wash, chop, de-stem, and) boil those separate from the potatoes and add at the end.

If you don’t want to add anything, take the cooked potatoes and onion off the heat but do not drain.  You’re going to mash or puree as is (an immersion blender is perfect for this to get a smooth texture but not necessary).  Then add some milk or cream, then add salt and pepper.  That’s it.  Return to the heat just long enough to get it to the temp you want, and then eat, from the pot if that’s where you’re at on a given day.  Or, set the table, light a candle, pour a glass of wine.

This is a lovely little lily of a soup that can be gilded in many ways.  You can add broccoli or a cousin, and puree when all is tender.  A splash of vinegar or lemon juice helps here, I’m not sure why.  You can add corn or spinach, as mentioned, after the puree.  A sprinkle of cheese is not unwelcome.

Taste of it, as Mom used to say; be kind to yourself and have a nice hot bowl of simplicity and frugality.