It is easy to think of potatoes, and fortunately for men who have not much money it is easy to think of them with a certain safety. Potatoes are one of the last things to disappear, in times of war, which is probably why they should not be forgotten in times of peace. ~ M.F.K. Fisher, How to Cook a Wolf
Unglamorous and reliable, the potato is a forgiving plant that will grow generously in a wide range of soils. It sustained people during challenging times, and remains a key staple around this globe , staving off the roaming specter of hunger that haunts so many.
During both World Wars I and II, potatoes appeared frequently in recipes created by government home economists. Use of the humble tuber in place of wheat was encouraged as a way of stretching meager rations and making use of home-grown produce. Potatoes were a key addition to wartime Victory Gardens, and a wide range of uses were found for them in the kitchens of resourceful cooks.
This soup is an adaptation of one such recipe, but variations can be found in cookbooks from all eras. It is simple, soothing and ‘tastes like buttery mashed potatoes’ according to one 9-year-old (who will eat two bowls easily).
- 2 tablespoons / 30 ml butter
- 1 medium onion, chopped(about 1cup / 250 ml)
- 2 stalks celery, chopped (about ½ cup / 125 ml)
- 6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
- 4 cups / 1 liter chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 cups / 500 ml milk (or 1-1/2 cups / 375 ml milk and ½ cup / 125 ml cream)
- 1 teaspoon / 5 ml salt
- ½ teaspoon / 2.5 ml ground white pepper
- Melt butter over medium heat in saucepan.
- Add onions, and cook until softened.
- Add celery and cook 5 minutes longer.
- Add ½ teaspoon salt.
- Add stock and potatoes.
- Bring to boiling point, then simmer over low heat until potatoes are tender.
- Puree mixture in blender until smooth.
- Return to pan and add milk, remaining salt and pepper.
- Heat to boiling point and serve.