Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner

Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner
Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains

Monday, January 24, 2011

Day 10 - Potato Soup

What is it about returning home as an adult that we want the same food we had as a child?  There is comfort in the special spared ribs that my family cooks with Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer.  There's solace in the lasagna my Mom makes as well as her mashed potatoes.  I guess there is a feeling of just not having to worry any more about the fears of adult life.  You don't fail when you eat a big bowl of pinto beans and corn bread.  You always are your best when you are at home eating Mom's potato soup.  So every other year when I return home, Mom always asks me what I want her to cook for me.  We make the menu ahead of time and I use my airplane napkin to wipe away the drool from my mouth as I think about my favorite, potato soup on the flight or the drive there.

Last year, Mom and her infinite wisdom decided to cook it differently.  A way that she had just discovered. She didn't realize what a huge emotional traumatic experience this would be for her daughter.  The first night when we arrived, we ate the potato soup.  This is the tradition.  But it had shrimp in it~What the....?  It was delicious, don't get me wrong, but don't mess with the potato soup memory.  My childhood is ruined forever if we don't eat the same recipe of potato soup that I have been used to eating for over forty years.  She did it again the next night when the ribs were a little dry.  I inquired about this and she said, "Oh they are not ribs dear, they are pork chops."  Ok WTF.  We were going to have to have a little talk.

She justified her change of recipe of the potato soup because it was better and she thought I would like it. The truth is, I liked the old way because it was more of a broth type soup and my  mom would drop egg in it while it boiled and this made egg noodles.  The creamy soup with shrimp was just so different.  I have driven 13 hours to her house while visions of potato soup and lasagna danced in my head like sugar plums.  So to arrive with anticipation only to be surprised by this new try-it-you'll-like-it mentality deeply bothered me.

I had to dig deep within myself to find the reason why.  Family recipes are tradition.  It is not the food, its the memories that come with the food.  I guess that's why cupcakes mean so much to me.  Even though my Dad left me at the age of two, I do have slight memories of him icing cupcakes with me.  Potato soup with the egg drop noodles remind me of all those days that it snowed and it was freezing outside.  No matter how cold it got, or how bad things got financially, we could always afford and have a dinner where we sat together as a family to eat potato soup.  Some people drink Southern Comfort, I can sip potato soup for comfort.

One day I was coming home on the school bus at the age of twelve.  Everyone on the bus all of a sudden stood up to see something really out of the ordinary.  My stop was next and I couldn't get to the front of the bus because they were all standing up. They parted ways to let me through and I saw what they were all staring at.  There was this trailer which had the roof peeled back from the top and curled like the you curl the top of a sardine can back with the key.  Wow, how awful someones house was open like a dollhouse with no roof.  Oh My, that was MY HOME.  I ran from the bus and into my house, and the feeling was surreal.  It was snowing inside my house, there was NO ROOF IN MY BEDROOM. We had to literally throw stuff out the window to keep it from getting wet and load it on to a semi trailer to save it.  We moved into the house of the woman who worked with my mother for two months.

After the two months passed, we moved back into a new house, all on our own, Mom served potato soup.  All was well again.  So with all this cold weather up north and even down south, it reminds me of the times we ate potato soup.  So I decided this week to make my Mom's NEW potato soup recipe.  I wanted to do the right thing and see if I could try to step out of my comfort zone and learn to like this new creamy shrimp soup.  I made it and it was awesome!  I text my kids the photo of the soup and told them next time they came home, I was going to make them this new Kick Ass Potato Soup!  I hope I'm not causing them any emotional trauma, if I am, I'll give them Mom's recipe.

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