Remember life before smartphones?
Like the folks in these vintage photos that I found on ebay, I spent the better part of the last couple of weeks laying around. We had plans to go out for my husband’s birthday in the middle of April, but earlier in the day I experienced sudden, severe abdominal pain, that lasted for the next few days, and had me confined to my bed. It let up for a few days, but after a week, it seemed to only be getting worse, and so on my birthday (which is a week after my husband’s), I spent the day in urgent care, where I discovered I had diverticulitis with complications. I was sent to the hospital via ambulance, where I spent 6 miserable days. Worst birthday ever.
I am surprised at how long it has taken me to get back to my old self. The first week back at home I barely moved off the sofa. Apart from the fact that I was still recovering, I had no energy. The antibiotics — for which I am grateful — wreaked their own special kind of havoc.
For about 3 weeks, I either had no appetite, or was so overwhelmed by nausea that I couldn’t eat. Even the smell of food made me sick. When I did start feeling well enough to eat, I craved bland, comfort foods — things like macaroni and cheese, baked potatoes with butter, pasta with butter, anything with butter. I’m back to eating normally, but I might have to have just one more bowl of pasta with butter (don’t judge).
On one of my son’s visits to me in the hospital, he hugged me as he was leaving and whispered in my ear, “I need you to come home, Mom.” So touching. “Why?” I asked. He whispered, “I need you to go to the grocery store and to cook.” Oh well, at least he missed me — have to count your blessings where you find them.
Inspired by the photos of the couch potatoes, when I finally felt sort of well enough to venture back into the kitchen, I made a big pot of potato soup, which my son requested and which sounded pretty good to me. Making the soup in my debilitated state, however, about killed me. My mise en place was more like mise en plotz. I fried up the chopped bacon, then had to go sit down for 10 minutes. Chopped the carrots and celery, and had to lay down for 15 minutes. Peeling and dicing the potatoes was almost a deal-breaker, but a cold soda and a half-hour of laying on the couch and watching TV recharged me. Eventually I was able to finish the soup. It was comforting and delicious, and marked the beginning of a return to normalcy, for which I am very thankful.
You should find the soup considerably easier to make. Have everything chopped in advance, and it will come together in no time. It’s slightly adapted from the Pioneer Woman’s recipe for Perfect Potato Soup. My whole family loves it, and I have no doubt yours will too.
|COMFORTING POTATO SOUP|| |
- 4 slices bacon, cut into ½" pieces
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and diced
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 3 large russet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 8 cups chicken broth
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup milk (low-fat is OK)
- ½ cup half and half
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Grated cheddar, optional topping
- Chopped chives or green onions, optional topping
- Place bacon in a large stockpot over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until bacon is crisp. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with a paper towel, and reserve for sprinkling on top of soup. Pour off all but approximately 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat.
- Add the carrots and the celery to the pot, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes, then add the potatoes. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-6 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are very tender, approximately 15 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together milk and flour, and add to soup. Simmer for another 5 minutes, then add onion powder and garlic powder, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Puree the soup using an immersion (stick) blender (preferred) or blender. (If using a blender, puree soup in batches, filling blender no more than half full, to avoid having hot soup explode out of the blender.)
- Return pureed soup to pot. Stir in half and half. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve hot garnished with bacon pieces, grated cheddar, and chives or green onions, as desired.
Potato soup — it’s good for what ails you
I <3 potatoes