When Safeway delivered my groceries last week, it was cheaper to buy a whole bag of Yukon gold organic potatoes. So now I’m making potato everything, trying to get through them before they turn green and sprout. I’ve already done mashed, home fries, and croquettes. I figured it was time to get a family recipe into the mix, since old Jews and potatoes are a match made in heaven.
Turns out my Great-grandmother’s recipe couldn’t be easier — just mash some potatoes and add milk, cream, and butter until you can’t any more. Pinch of salt and black pepper.
Well, I can’t have cream but I know I would miss the fat in this recipe, so sorry vegans, I fried up some bacon for breakfast and recycled the fat into the recipe. I was woken this morning by a tsunami warning and if the End of Days is upon us, I’m going out with a belly full of bacon. Plus, I have a hunch that my Great-grandmother, whom I never met, might have snuck some schmaltz (chicken fat to civilians) into this recipe. She was the type to spread it on toast, from what I have been told. I feel that bacon fat is in the spirit of schmaltz — even though bacon fat is a substance my observant Great-grandmother would never have tasted in her life — for obvious reasons.
Have been OD’ing on horrible news coverage of the disaster in Japan on CNN, while fielding calls from relatives and friends who know I live on the coast and worry, so I believe that a heavy, sustaining soup made from potatoes — the most stoic of starches — is pretty much medically necessary at this point. Just the thought of having to evacuate with one bad foot, a dog who bites everyone at the moment, and an elderly cat with bad kidneys who likes to scream in the car, was enough to send me back to bed this morning without any kind of evacuation plan.
If I do have to evacuate, at least I won’t be hungry!
My Great-grandmother’s Potato Soup
6 medium-sized Yukon gold or other buttery-tasting potatoes
4 cups of lactose-free milk*
6 tablespoons of Earth Balance or 4 of Earth Balance and 2 of bacon grease
An onion (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Dried parsley for garnish
Boil the potatoes until soft when poked. Drain. Use the same sauce pan to melt your grease. Add chopped onion (if using) and cook until soft and starting to become translucent. Add drained potatoes and mash (or if, like me, you use your potato masher as a paper towel holder, just throw the potatoes in there and wait).
Add milk and salt and pepper to taste. Put on low heat and cook gently for about 45 minutes, stirring from time to time.
Serve with toast made from heavy, peasant bread.