As the daylight hours grow shorter here on Cape Cod and the autumn chill creeps in, my thoughts turn to soup; and when I think of soup, I naturally think of Uncle Fred. Fred always made big batches of soup, broke them down into 1 and 2 quart containers and froze them for quick, nutritious and delicious meals for Aunt Jo and him to enjoy during the long, cold, New England winter. He usually kept one in the back of the freezer as a welcome for when my wife and I would arrive with our children for our annual August vacation in Falmouth. Even though it was mid-summer, that soup would become our first night’s meal.
One of his favorites, reflective of the large local Portuguese speaking community, was Kale Soup. It’s an amalgam of chopped kale, white beans (I used canned beans, which saves time and effort, just be sure to rinse and drain them first), Portuguese sausage and potatoes; delicious, nutritious and sticks to your ribs. I know that Fred wrote down the recipe for me, but I was unable to find it yesterday when I went to the market to pick-up the main ingredients.
However, I did find a batch of recipes and notes from my cousin, Chef Vincent, Fred’s son. Vince’s Kale Soup is a little different from the version I concocted yesterday, he doesn’t use beans. Nonetheless, we share a penchant for good eating, something obviously inherited from our fathers and grandfather. But I don’t ever remember Grandpa in the kitchen, Grandma did all of the cooking, so whatever skill Vince and I have in that regard, must have been passed down from her.
Here’s Vince’s take on soup:
‘There’s nothing like a nice hot bowl of hearty soup on a cold winter’s day! I love cooking soups in the cold months (and it gets cold – for a long time – in Massachusetts!). The aroma fills the house, and the stove keeps the kitchen warm. It’s such a cozy feeling. It’s even more comforting when you get to eat the finished product! My soups are a meal in themselves. Eat them with a nice loaf of warm bread. Man, that’s living!’