We would go to school on a cold winter day and not know that mom had already planned our dinner the day before. I got wise to what she was up to when I was about 12 as she would be in the basement gathering quart jars of homemade canned vegetables. There was nothing like that smell upon coming home. It permeated the whole house and lingered into the night. She used a very large stew pot and made enough for the five of us for at least 2 days. I can make ,and love to make it, but it just doesn’t measure up to the taste of hers. Maybe the missing ingredient was hand chopped onion, or the braised beef she included sometimes. Maybe it was the long hours she spent over snapping the beans and cutting up tomatoes and washing mason jars for canning. Many times us kids would sit over a bushel basket of green beans or peaches and help out. Maybe it was the ultimate ingredient… LOVE. Love for her family. Providing it with her loving hands and heart.
I asked mom recently exactly what ingredients go in vegetable soup and she said..”vegetables,.. silly.” See Mom doesn’t remember a whole lot about recipes or how to cook a lot of things. She does remember making it in the big pot though. A smile came over her face and I asked her why she was grinning. She looked at me and said..”nothing better on a cold day than soup, you kids loved it. ” Yes she sure knows us pretty well. As far as I am concerned winter months mean soup and I am more than happy to make it many times over. I added my own touch when I make it. I serve it with nice warm pieces of homemade cornbread. I guess I just wanted to try to make a memory of my own with the soup, however nothing will compare to Mom’s version.
The photo above is the kind of pot mom used. It was used as a cold pack canner for boiling her green bean jars in when canning them. She made soup and filled it up about half way up. We don’t have the old pot anymore, I have no idea what happened to it. Mom stopped canning over 30 years ago. I admire people who do it though. It takes a lot of time and work.