Autumn is in the air, no doubt about it. It's time to dig out my boots, scarves, hats, and raincoat. Soon it will be cold enough for a morning cup of cocoa and an evening fire. The local harvest is in full swing and markets are overflowing with the earthy colors of apples, pears, pumpkins, winter squash, carrots, beets, and onions. Fall is my favorite season!
The cooler weather means “Soup's on” at my house. Simple and comforting, soup warms the soul as well as the body. When I was a teenager in San Diego, my mom and I enjoyed eating at a restaurant called The Hungry Years. The décor was from the 1920's and 30's. Photos of soup kitchens and breadlines from the Great Depression covered the walls, a visual history lesson and the spark for many great conversations. They served only soups, salad and all the fresh cornbread and hot rolls with butter and honey you could eat. It was a novel idea then, before Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes buffets came along; a refreshing alternative to the standard meat and potatoes fare served elsewhere.
Soup is still an easy, healthy, economical way to nourish a family. Our local farmers provide all the ingredients we need. The recipes I've chosen to share are all “creamy” soups, though actual cream is only used as a garnish. Whole, 1%, or 2% milk all work well. Blending disguises the vegetables for picky eaters, but floating a few whole grain goldfish crackers on top for the youngsters can be fun.