What does it mean to share a meal? When I create a food experience for someone, it’s an expression of my love. It’s artistry. The shared recipes from my Grandmother, Momma, and Aunts, life, experiences, people who have been kind enough to share their food with me… Food is love. It’s warmth, caring, and happiness bundled into an experience. Usually, adult beverages are involved 🙂 And usually, friends become family. Love is shared; and we all feel a little more human, which is desperately needed in our world.
If I could monetize the love I feel when I’m in the kitchen surrounded by friends, family, and friends like family, I’d be the billionaire philanthropist of my dreams. We take nothing for granted in these precious moments. They are too few and far between. As we break bread together, we nourish not only our bodies but the pieces of us which need each other the most. It’s stunning. Perhaps even more stunning than my scones!
As you celebrate Black History Month with friends, family, coworkers, and anyone you love, remember what Soul Food is about: feeding your soul with the unconditional love that comes with sharing a meal. I’m ALL about that life 🙂
This is “Aunt Nei Nei’s Famous Loaded Baked Potato Soup.” Soup is a forgiving dish. Unless an ingredient is burned or turned, you can usually doctor errors made in seasoning. It’s a perfect meal for the Midwest winter and feels cozy and comfortable.
- 5 lbs. peeled and chopped potatoes (I use Yukon Gold, sometimes red)
- 1 lb. thick Peppered Bacon
- 1 cup finely diced celery
- 1 cup finely diced carrots
- 1/2 cup of chopped parsley
- 2 cups finely chopped onion (I use sweet yellow)
- 4 Cloves of fresh garlic, crushed & finely chopped
- 1 tsp Rosemary
- Salt, to taste (remember, bacon & cheese are already savory. Use sparingly!)
- Fresh Cracked Black pepper, to taste
- 2 Chicken or Vegetable Bouillon cubes
- 8 tablespoons butter (1 stick of REAL butter!!!)
- 2 Cans of Evaporated Milk
- 8 oz. of Buttermilk
- Whole Milk (to consistency – usually a quart)
- Freshly Grated Cheese (your taste – I like asiago or aged white cheddar)
- Sour Cream
- Chopped Scallions
- Peel, cube, and boil potatoes in salted water until soft in a large stock pot.
- While the potatoes boil, fry bacon until crispy, & reserve bacon fat. Place crisped bacon to the side.
- Drain potatoes, & hold.
- In a LARGE stock pot, heat rendered bacon fat with the butter. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add carrots, celery, rosemary, parsley, garlic, bouillon, salt & pepper & saute until color develops.
- Stir in potatoes & crumbled peppered bacon.
- Add the dairy to preferred consistency, and let it stew – until you can’t stand it any longer and you have to eat it! (At least 30 minutes, simmering)
And use what you like. Substitute the rosemary for sage. Use white instead of yellow onions… or LEEKS! Whatevs! (I mean, the yellow onions are so sweet and melty, but… to each his own! I’ve also subbed veggie bacon for the real bacon, and vegetable bouillon for the chicken. I’ve omitted the parsley. I’ve used heavy whipping cream, half and half… you name it, I’m sure I’ve done it. Do you, boo boo!