Cooking Soup
Every member of my family knows how to cook one thing very well. My father knows how to barbecue chicken. My older sister knows how to make very good lasagna. My younger brother excels at making sugar cookies. My mother is very talented at making casseroles. Until very recently, I did not know how to make anything. But all of that changed one day last winter.
It was an exceptionally cold day. Even by North Dakota standards, this day was rough. The high temperature was -4°. Yes, it was so cold that the temperature peaked below zero! Luckily, school was canceled because it was so cold.
So we were all at home, trying to stay warm. My father suggested that hot soup would warm us up. Soup is perfect for a cold day, but no one knew how to make it. I knew I needed to learn to cook finally, so I volunteered.
I looked up soup recipes online, and I found one for beef barley that looked easy enough to make. And, it turns out, it was easy! My first soup also turned out to be delicious.
Since that day, I’ve made soup a couple dozen times. And I’ve tried everything from cream of mushroom to chicken noodle to an Indian soup called mulligatawny. I am now the official soup expert of the Lutheran household.
The Process
The secret to making good soup is patience. Soup is not a meal that you can cook quickly. It is something that needs to be made over several hours. That way the flavors can blend together.
First, I like to start by making a base for the soup. The base impacts every spoonful of the finished product. In a soup with meat, I usually start by heating oil in the soup kettle and adding meat to it. I cook the meat with onions, garlic, and sometimes spices or peppers. Then, I add more vegetables on top of it: potatoes, carrots, celery, or other ingredients.

After those flavors start to develop, and the vegetables soften, I add stock on top of them. Stock is what makes soup a soup. It is the liquid that holds the ingredients. I bring the stock to a boil, then reduce the temperature to a simmer. That means the stove is on low, but the soup stays hot.
Then, I sit and wait. A couple hours later, my delicious soup is ready to be eaten. And it goes fast because it tastes so great!
The best thing about soup though is how many kinds of soup can be made with a basic recipe. The process never changes, but the soups do. It just depends on what meats or vegetables you want to use. So, one soup recipe is worth a thousand soups!