Most of my recipes or meals come with a story behind them. I’m sure most of you have those stories as well. (So bear with me I will get back to the leftovers!) 🙂
I think that’s why certain dishes become such a part of us.
This one is no different. I guess to some it may not be a great story or one they would wish to remember. Much less share.
If you have read my about page, you know I believe things happen to teach us things. Become better people. Although it may not be the happiest times of our lives I still look back at these memories with happiness and gratefulness for the lessons learned and the person it made me.
When I was 8 my Dad was laid off. My mom wasn’t working outside the home at the time. ( She was raising 4 kids) It couldn’t have come at a worse time. My parents had just started building a house. Not just any house! Not to have their dream home if you will. It was in hopes of bringing the family closer together. Things hadn’t been the easiest with teen age boys. They thought not only would it be a hands on learning experience for us but we would have to work together as a family.
I’m sure being laid off broke my Dad’s heart. I can only imagine how he felt that day he got the news. Feeling as though he failed his family I’m sure. I remember the look on his face when I saw him. I was playing outside and I see my dad coming down the hill towards my Granny’s house. I knew something was wrong. For one it was way too early. The other reason was my mom had driven him to work that day. ( we just had one car) This wasn’t just any job for my dad. I used to go to work with him and I knew he loved what he did. He was a printer. You know back in the old days when a printer wasn’t something that sat on your desk. You could see the pride he took in what he did. How much it meant to him to get things exactly as the customer wanted.
The print shop was a part of our family. My Grandfather started it when they moved to our little town. My Grandparents and my dad were known for the quality of work they did. I’m pretty sure my dad never saw this day coming. He thought he would work at this print shop the rest of his life. My Grandparents sold the print shop when they retired to a nice older couple and my dad continued to work for them for years. Until it came time for them to retire too and they sold the print shop. It must have only been a year before this new company decided they no longer needed my dad.
We went through some really hard times over the next few years. It’s hard to find work in my little town. My dad worked where ever he could find work. Even if it was just for a day. My mom went back to work but it didn’t pay much. Gas for the car was about all it did. Sometimes we didn’t know what we were going to eat. We didn’t have heat or gas for warm water. We did have a wood stove. We used that for everything. Cooking, heating up water to wash up, drying our clothes in the winter. We found ways to make it.
This was another one of those times I got to see just how strong my mom is. She did her very best to make something out of nothing. We ate a lot of beans. I mean a lot. Every other month or so we got commodities. If any of you have ever experienced this you know what that is. In our box would be a bag of rice, a block of government ( Velveeta) cheese, a bag of beans, and a box of dried milk. All this for 6 people! Lol. My mom would add what she could afford to or what she could trade for to make it go further.
That’s where this recipe comes in. I know it took me forever to get to it but there really is a story to how it came about. I still think about those struggles we endured when I make this. I wouldn’t change it for the world. I learned so much! I became a stronger person. I know this is why I can survive just about anything. It is also why I can be perfectly happy with very little.
Potato Cheese Soup
- 1 10lb bag of potatoes
- 1 Clove Garlic
- Green Onion (we didn’t have this)
- Broth ( water)
- Milk ( we used the powdered milk, mixed as directed )
- 2 to 3 Cups of Shredded Cheese ( Government cheese originally)
- Salt and Pepper
- Green Chilies ( Added years later )
Very simple. Cut the potatoes to desired size and boil until done in salted water. Drain the potatoes when done and put aside. In the pot you cooked the potatoes in caramelize the onion in a small amount of Coconut oil. Add the garlic and celery cook until fragrant. Then add enough flour to make a rue and slowly add milk and broth/water to make a thin gravy. Return the potatoes to the pot and stir. Add more broth/water if needed. In a bowl mix cheese with enough flour to coat the cheese well. Slowly add the cheese. Stirring and letting it melt completely before adding more. When all the cheese is melted add pepper, green chilies, green onion, and salt if needed. Let simmer until ready to serve. Makes great leftovers! You can always freeze it to use later too.
Note: I cheated on this one last night! I needed to use up the mashed potatoes from Thanksgiving. All works the same. Just ahead of the game in cooking the potatoes. Told you I would get back to the leftovers 🙂