I’ve talked before about Mom and Dad’s brave move to Leadville, Colorado, from Columbus, Nebraska, in the mid-70s. For as long as I remember, they had wanted to live in the Colorado mountains that they loved so much. The bakery in Leadville is what finally presented itself to them.
It wasn’t a perfect fit by any means. A while back I wrote a blog about our family’s time in Leadville. It was a rough town, largely dependent upon the molybdenum mine. Miners are a unique animal we soon learned.
But in addition to having to get used to the thin air (Leadville sits at an altitude of over 10,000 feet making for difficult breathing and short summers), my parents also had to get used to the fact that along with the bakery, there was a small coffee shop.
I’m not sure what the previous owners offered in the coffee shop. But for Gloor’s Bakery and Coffee Shop, breakfast consisted primarily of coffee and donuts or sweet rolls from the attached bakery and lunch was also simple – a few kinds of sandwiches and homemade soup.
Soup wasn’t a particularly new thing for my mom. As we grew up, she occasionally made us soup for a simple dinner or maybe a lunch treat. I remember she made vegetable beef soup with a beef shank that was absolutely delicious. I don’t think any of us have her recipe for that soup (because frankly she probably never had a recipe), but man I would like to have a bowl of it right this minute.
Anyhoo, under the direction of my mother, the Gloor Bakery Coffee Shop offered homemade soup, each day a different kind. Not endlessly different, but 10 or 12 kinds of soup that she rotated. I remember people stopping by the coffee shop in the morning to see what the soup-of-the-day was for that day, or calling to ask. Everyone had their favorite.
The soups truly were homemade from scratch. Each and every afternoon (except Saturday), Mom would make a big pot of soup for the next day. I’m sure at first this was kind of fun. After all, nothing smells better than soup simmering on the stove.
I’m here to tell you, however, that the fun wore off rather quickly and changed into drudgery. I hope that I don’t shock any of you when I tell you that my mother began referring to her soup as her “f***ing soup” as in “I’ve got to go make my f***ing soup for tomorrow.” Petite and pretty as she was, she could cuss right up there with the best of them!
And man-oh-man, was her soup ever good. She made Cream of Broccoli (which she called Broccoli Soup and I posted her recipe previously – also meatless by the way, which many of her soups were), Cream of Cauliflower, Cream of Asparagus, Clam Chowder, Beef Chili, Green Chili, Vegetable Beef, Potato, Ham-and-Bean, Minestrone, and for those warm summer THREE days or so, Gazpacho. I’m probably forgetting a few, and I’m sure my siblings will remind me.
Even writing about them makes me want to go cook up a pot of soup today. I only have her recipe for a few of them, unfortunately.
Here is a recipe I found for Chickpea Minestrone. As I write this, I’m 900 miles away from my mother’s Minestrone Soup recipe (one of the few soup recipes I have), but as a recall, her minestrone also contained chickpeas, pasta and no meat. However, this was a good version, and it comes from Vegetarian Times….