Well, it's the day before Thanksgiving and the Soup Lady is in a tizzy trying to get all the last minute details together for the holiday meal tomorrow. I hope you all have a nice pot of soup going so that you can stop and nourish yourselves. Come back and see me on Friday when you are all looking at the ugly carcass of a 16 pound bird and wondering what to do with it. There are plenty of places you can go to find a traditional turkey bone soup recipe , but look at the dilly (sorry!) that arrived in the Soup Lady's mailbag. How could one not adore a soup that calls for pickle juice in the ingredients? Deborah Diemand writes:
Dear Soup Lady,
I thought I would share one of my favorite soup recipes, which I got from a wonderful old lady from Savannah GA, since, sadly, deceased at a great age. Her name was Ruth Poggenpohl. Don't know where she got it from - some ante-bellum grandmother perhaps. She was a genius at simple, delicious, but unusual foods.
Very simple, and a little piece of heaven. We generally pick the better meat scraps off the carcass when the stock is done and toss them in with the veggies. As you can tell from the vague instructions, you can do whatever you like.
signed, Deborah Diemand
Make stock from turkey carcass, leaving in small bits of meat. Dice veggies and cook in a small amount of water and a bit of butter. Add veg to the trained stock along with the tomato soup. 5 minutes before serving add pickles and juice. Serve with a blob of sour cream on top.
The Soup Lady's Free Advice for Thanksgiving :
For the cook: Don't worry too much about what you are serving to your guests. They will eat it anyway. If it's burned, scrape the black part off. If it's undercooked, throw it back in for a while - they will have plenty of other stuff to eat while it finishes. If you forgot something that you planned to have on your menu, don't sweat it - no one will know unless you tell them. Don't compare your dinner with Aunt Sally who has been hostessing the family event for 35 years, or with your cousin's new wife who had theirs catered by Jean-Luc last year - this dinner is yours and yours alone. If what you offer comes from the heart, that is all anyone can ask for. Accept all help for assistance in the kitchen. Be sure sure that you follow the rules of basic sanitation and good hygeine.
For the guests: Don't show up empty-handed. Ask before hand what you can bring to contribute to the meal. If the hostess politely declines to tell you, bring something anyway - a sweet for dessert, a bag of gournet coffe beans or a fancy canister of tea, or a pineapple wrapped in a new dishtowel. Eat from the selection of dishes that are on the menu. If you are on a diet, work with what you have. If you have special medical needs for your food, then you know what you can and cannot have. Don't make a big deal about how the food that is offered does not fit your food plan. Offer to help. Try to stay out of the way during the last-minute preparations -help is most appreciated after the meal during the clean-up. If you can't bear the idea of spending the time after the holiday meal with your hands in the sink and up to your elbows in suds, take out the kitchen gabage; keep the small kids busy; ofer to take the dog for a walk.
Advice about children: have a kids' table and seat your litittle guests together there, but do it in a positive way, not as if you are telling them they are not fit to sit at the big table. If you don't have a lot of space for an extra table, spread out a plastic tablecloth somewhere out of the way and let them have an indoor 'picnic'. They will try to get themselves to the big table, but pleasantly redirect them. In the long run, they will talk about the kids' table for years to come and be happy that they sat at one. Let them provide decorations. If they made turkeys out of brown paper bags, let that be the centerpiece. Use the placecards they made and let them wear feathers and pilgrim caps during the meal. Take them to a party store and let them pick out a tissue paper turkey or a foil garland to string around. Don't get worked up over food stains on their clothing or spilled plates of food - it's going to happen so just relax. You can clean it later.
Advice about seniors: Listen to your uncle's same old stories - again. So what if you heard them before? Let the old ladies help with the dishes. I know you want to give them a break after all the years that they stood on their feet feeding you, but maybe they like doing dishes. Let them. Repeat what you just said as many times as it takes in case they didn't quite catch all the words. Let them hold the babies, but don't expect them to babysit.
General advice: Turn off the TV. Use your good manners. Be nice to everybody. Remember what you are thankful for.