Mom’s vegetable soup, good for what ails you

When our children were little and our family visited Mother and Daddy in Lancaster County, PA , we could always count on an enamel-coated refrigerator drawer full of soup–either chicken corn or vegetable–to get us revived after a long car trip from Florida. Even now after an exhausting flight, we open the fridge and find home-made soup in one of the drawers, ready to heat up.


Mother has seldom used a recipe and when she does the proportions are often not included.

MomVegSoupRecipe2_layers_4x3_300 The recipe shows “potatoes” crossed out, but sometimes she adds them.

After a couple of stabs at it, I coaxed Mom into being a little more precise about measurements for her savory vegetable soup:

Start with 2 1/2 pounds of chuck roast. Sear the meat and then bake it at 350 degrees until tender. It should be nice and brown and fall apart when you jab a fork into it! Save drippings.

Cook separately:  Carrots, celery and cabbage. Then add green beans, peas and corn. Be sure to keep the vegetable broth.

Now add a quart of tomato juice (preferably canned from fresh tomatoes or tin canned crushed tomatoes.)

1/2 cup Heinz ketchup. Then combine beef, cut up, into vegetable + broth mixture and simmer.

*  *  *

What comfort food to you associate with your mother? Another relative?

Your comments welcome. I will always reply.

Coming next week! First in a Series: Moments of Extreme Emotion with Original Art by Cliff


28 thoughts on “Mom’s vegetable soup, good for what ails you

  1. My mother also had vegetable soup prepared in bulk and stored in the small containers in the freezer for our homecomings. Another favorite were her turnip/collard/mustard green combinations. Heat and serve with freshly made cornbread. Makes a southern girl’s heart skip a beat. Your nostalgic posts always take me back home to memories long forgotten. Thank you.


  2. I love that her recipe only includes the ingredients. After all, you are already expected to know how to cook! My grandmother, who never measured anything, took the time to measure out the ingredients for her red velvet cake along with instructions on how to prepare it. I am so very grateful for that. I have it in her own handwriting. Of course, it is splattered with red cake mix now, but legible. I make two every Christmas.


  3. My Mom has a similar recipe for a cabbage soup – we use less cabbage now that we’re getting..ahem…older. I’ve learned to make a big pot and then hide some so Hubby doesn’t eat it all. It’s sooooo good!


  4. I’m thinking of Mom’s recipe for a concoction she called “goulash”. She got the recipe from Dad’s aunt. Layer cabbage, onion, ground beef, rice, and tinned tomatoes in a big pot. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for an hour or so. Season with allspice, stir it all together and cook it for a while longer. We always served it with thin slices of cheddar cheese on top of flattened portions. Comfort food, indeed.


    1. It sounds savory and “warming.” I’m noticing so many recipes with cabbage; one wonders if they came from the Old Country. It’s always nice to hear from you, Linda. Thanks for the visit!


  5. It’s like my recipes! 🙂 I love soup, and I usually have some in the freezer. I could tell you what is in them, but not the amounts. I make hot cabbage/beet borscht in the winter, sort of the way my mother made it, except that mine is vegetarian. I guess those types of vegetables and potatoes could be stored?


  6. They could be stored, yes! My mother in her root cellar, of course. I observe how every commenter included cabbage with the soup recipe. Borscht is best with beets: I love beets. Have you ever tried pickling boiled eggs in beet juice?


  7. Our kids loved the soup that Grandma Showalter always had ready when we arrived after ten hours in the car. (“No more bye bye,” was my daughter’s first sentence.) Her soup had ham broth for its base, I think. And included baby lima beans among the other vegetables.

    Delicious. As was this post!


    1. Looking back, I think it was 18 hours in the car, so anything warm in the tummy was a welcome thing. Yesterday I made bean soup with a ham broth base, so nostalgic.

      Thanks for stopping by this evening, Shirley, as you continue promoting Blush and plan for future publications–what a role model you are! At your urging (or maybe it was Sherrey Meyer’s) I have entered the Gutsy Story contest, with an entry to be posted December 2.


  8. It was during one of my college summers that I was with my family at a restaurant out West. Our friendly waitress had a slight lisp. “Do you want thoup or thalad?” My Dad and I looked at each other trying hard to choke down some humorous thoughts. I wasn’t really a cruel college student then but I replied, “I’ll have the thoup.”

    “OK,” as she scribbled her waitress short hand on her pad. “Does anyone else want thoup or thalad?”

    My mother-in-law’s thoup was always a welcome tummy treat when we traveled those hundreds of miles from FL and entered the front door of the Longenecker home. I think there was a secret flavor in her recipe since it was often scooped out from one of her favorite refrigerator drawers and fed to the hungry Beaman clan.


  9. Sweet, Marian. Sweet mom. My mom didn’t make soup. She wore brush rollers at night and applied make-up for half an hour each morning, but my paternal grandmother made soup, and I am in her tradition. When I can’t seem to cook anything creative for myself, I still make soup–always healthy, always vegetarian with some sort of legume and grain. I make a mean pot of soup. On Christmas Day a few years back (we do a big feast Christmas Eve because my mother-in-law is Italian), I was prepared to cook another feast. My sons requested minestrone soup instead. Mama’s soup.


    1. Lucky you–for getting off the hook on Christmas Day with nourishing soup!

      You know, I find when I get stuck and the words won’t come, or get bogged down with other details, the kitchen rescues me. I don’t aspire to be a sous chef, but nothing like a good “rough chop” on the cutting board as Ina Garten says, to get oneself on an even keel. Thanks for your story, and your insights, Elaine.


Thank You for Leaving a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s