Soup – a connection to the past…

Wow – that’s quite a title. Especially for something about soup.

For those who don’t know, my grandmother owned a restaurant for 28 years. She was a fabulous cook, a sharp businesswoman, and a kind person. And, one of my favorite things she made was bean soup. In fact, after she retired and she and mom were sharing the house, she’d always make sure a pot of bean soup was on the stove when I came home from college for the weekend.

There was no recipe, and I was dumb enough not to ask her for one. I think she showed me how to make it once, but if she did, I don’t remember. And it’s not like any bean soup I’ve had since. All white, since it uses only Great Northern beans, with ham and (I know this sounds weird) handmade noodles. Hard to describe, but really delicious.

So, maybe 5 or so years ago, I began trying to figure out how she did it. I knew most of the ingredients, but didn’t know the seasoning or the “magic” that made it turn out like it did. After many experiments, and some total disasters, I’ve gotten as close to the original as I think I can. I found that the noodles are essential, since the cooking of the dried noodles is what thickens the soup. I even added my own touch – baby carrots for a bit of color and sweetness. My mom liked that addition, and thought grams would approve.

Yesterday, I took this “heirloom” and finally put my own stamp on it. I replaced the ham with chicken breast, adjusted the seasoning a bit (but not much), and came up with a slightly different version, that I also think grams would approve of. And, I think I like the new version better than my previous one. (I also was after a version that Hannah could eat, since pork is a no-no for her. I think she’ll like this one.)

So grams was much on my mind yesterday, as I got out her soup pot and made my soup in it. Someday, I hope to pass the recipe along in some form, and continue the connection. 😀

Make some memories this weekend, ok? And if your parents or grandparents make something fabulous that you love, GET THE RECIPE! Trust me – you’ll miss it if you don’t! 😀


  1. Cal says:

    Ardra’s Home Cooking, right in town in Oscoda. It’s now a Chinese place, but every once in a while, we’ll hear someone say, “it’s down by Ardra’s.” 😀

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