The other day I decided I needed to either use or toss some fresh broccoli that was in my refrigerator taking up a lot of space. (The reason it was taking up a lot of space was because I had spent way too much to buy the already-cut-up kind of broccoli in big plastic containers because for whatever reason, cutting up broccoli or cauliflower is as yucky a job as peeling potatoes or emptying the dishwasher.)
Fall is in the air, so it’s beginning to be soup season. I decided a pot of Cream of Broccoli soup was the answer!
I did as I usually do, firing up my IPad and Googling “Cream of Broccoli Soup.” Of course, many links to soup recipes magically appeared. But suddenly it occurred to me that Mom had frequently made a delicious Cream of Broccoli soup when she was preparing soups for the coffee shop they inadvertently owned in Leadville. (I say inadvertently because the only reason they owned the coffee shop was that it was attached to the Leadville bakery they bought, and so they suddenly became restaurateurs as well as bakers. It never was anything they were too happy about, I can assure you.)
Anyhoo, I began going through her recipe box. That is not an easy task, my friends. It is literally stuffed with handwritten recipes and newspaper clippings of all sizes. After all of these years, the recipes are no longer in any kind of order. It took me some time, but as I literally got to the last few cards, there it was.
I looked at the recipe, written in her oh-so-familiar handwriting, and found it to be not all that different than the other recipes I had looked at that morning on my IPad. The main difference is that she used chicken bouillon cubes and water instead of chicken broth. I don’t think that was
particularly uncommon back in the days when she was making her daily soup.
She listed the ingredients, and then wrote out the instructions. After detailing how to put the ingredients together to make the soup, she wrote, “I like to add 2 or 3 slices American cheese.”
Suddenly and unexpectedly, I began to cry. Serious crying, with tears rolling down my cheeks.
I probably think about my mother almost every day, mostly in passing. I will be doing my sheets and will think about how she changed bed linens every Wednesday. Or I might be getting ready for bed and I will think about how she took a bath every night and got in her pajamas before sitting down to watch TV with Dad.
But those thoughts never make me cry.
So I’m not sure why the recipe brought me to tears. Something about her adding that note about what she liked to do to enhance that recipe was simply so poignant. It was like she was talking to me.
After I had my cry, I started thinking about how glad I was to have many of her recipes in her handwriting. It made me begin to wonder if there was something I could do for my son that would be as meaningful. I’m not sure handwritten recipes would be the thing, but I’ll bet there is something. I’m going to have to ask him.
And for the record, Mom would never have purchased prepackaged and precut broccoli. But she wouldn’t judge me for doing so. And, in fact, I suspect she likely used frozen chopped broccoli, which worked just fine.
Also, despite the fact that it will take a trip to the grocery store, I plan on adding 2 or 3 slices of American cheese to my Broccoli Soup (that’s what she called it as opposed to Cream of Broccoli Soup.) If it was good enough for Mom, it’s good enough for me! The best part of it all was that Mylee helped me make the soup!
Do you use recipe cards? Do you use any of your mom’s recipes? Do you think I’m a big baby for crying?
4 c. chopped fresh broccoli
½ c. chopped onion
3 c. water
2 T. instant chicken bouillon or 6 bouillon cubes
1/t. leaf thyme
1/8 t. garlic powder
¼ c. butter or margarine
¼ c. flour
1/8 t. pepper
2 c. half and half or milk
Cook broccoli, onion, water, bouillon, thyme, and garlic powder. In blender or food processor – 1/3 at a time – blend until smooth. Melt margarine over moderate heat. Add flour and pepper. Cook a few minutes, stirring. Add cream. Cook over moderate heat, stirring, until thickened. Add broccoli mixture. Heat but don’t boil. I like to add 2 or 3 slices American cheese.
Nana’s Notes: Forgive me Mom, but I made a couple of changes. I cooked the onion in vegetable oil until softened, then added a clove of garlic, minced, and cooked that for a minute or so. I didn’t add the garlic powder. Instead of the chicken bouillon and water, I used 3 c. of chicken broth. Also, I used butter instead of margarine. But, of course, I added the slices of American cheese.