On a winter’s night after a long day’s walk, a ragged beggar finds himself in a quiet farming village. He dreams of a warm fire and a hot meal. He knocks on the door of a tidy house. A pair of eyes peer out at him from behind the printed curtain. But no-one opens the door. At the next house a young woman with a crying baby tells him she has nothing to spare. He is even turned away from the Ukrainian church, where a few women are sewing together on a patchwork quilt.
Seeing the ladies work together gives him an idea. He hurries over to the grocery store. “Watch me make a delicious soup with these magic buttons,” he says, pulling three buttons carved from the bones of an ox’s tail off his ratty old coat.
He invites shoppers to come taste some of his miracle soup over at the church, where he had seen a large pot on the kitchen stove in the hall. “Bring something for the pot,” he says. “Anything at all. An old turnip, some potato peels, a few chicken wings… ”
Any kid who has read Aubrey Davis’s Bone-Button Borscht knows how the people couldn’t resist a good show. They turn up in droves. Dandelion leaves, turkey necks, withered beets, the last of the sauerkraut, a chunk of bacon fat… it all goes into the pot of slowly simmering water. EE i ee i OHHHH!
The old man, and everyone else who comes out that evening, is well-fed indeed.
There’s a lot of stock in this story
We too always have home-made soup on the go, much the same way as the old man did. In a plastic bag in the freezer, we save up roast bones, left-over veggies from dinner, the ends of the celery and fennel, bits of squash and apple cores etc etc. It all goes into the big soup pot with some water, enough to cover. I throw in some bay leaves, sticks of cinnamon, pepper corns, garlic bulbs and lots of love. It simmers for two or three hours.
After the soup has cooled, I move it to the fridge in the summer or the garage in the winter, to cool overnight. Next day I scrape off fat hardened on the surface, throw it out, and warm the pot once again to turn the gelatinous stock back into a liquid rich with nutrition and flavor. Then I strain it through a colander. I store 4 cups of the stock in plastic containers marked with the date and put them in the freezer.
I can get eight containers or more from one pot.
Once or twice a week, I use the stock from one of the containers, along with fresh veggies and left-over meat or an egg, to make some soup for lunch. Each small pot serves four. That’s a lot of food from a single bag of food scraps…
Use your garbage soup stock as a base for a meal made from whatever you have on hand. It’s perfect for every-day cooking. No recipe required. Here are three ideas to get you started:
- Borscht – chopped beets, cabbage, onion, carrot and garlic, with leftover ham or sausage
- Mushroom soup – mushrooms, barley, leeks, left-over chicken or turkey
- Cream of squash – butternut squash or pumpkin, sweet potato, apple, lentils and curry. Puree once the veggies are soft to the fork. Serve with a spoonful of Greek yogurt or nondairy substitute.
This is what I used yesterday: leftover smoked pork chop, potatoes and one tablespoon of their cream, and pesto. Plus, fresh spinach, leeks, green onion and asparagus.
Need more detailed directions than my DIY recipe ideas? Check out this fabulous site for wonderful recipes for healthy nutritious soups that don’t break the bank. If you have some favorite soup links, please share them :).
Soups can be low in calories but packed with all the goodness of fresh veggies, spices, herbs, meat and slo-carbs (if you want them). They make a perfect lunch or dinner meal on the 17-day diet. Once you try them, you’ll be hooked for life.
Reuse, recycle, and rejuvenate. Tap into your creative juices and make soup today… with bone buttons!
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