Ah, early autumn. One day its hot, the next day its chilly. One cannot predict, can one? On the chilly days, the same thought hits you no matter where you are in the country - "This would be a good day for soup." By the time you select a recipe and gather the ingredients, the chill is gone and you are left alone with an assortment of meats and vegetables next to an empty pot.
Here is a recipe made to order for those vexing weather flucuations. It's from Marion Tracy's The Art of Making Great Soup (1967), listed in the "Great Beginnings" section. The soup is light but has a wide taste, if you know what I mean. The cucumbers surrender themselves quickly to the broth and create a sideways taste sensation. You know how take-out Hot and Sour Soup fills up the back of your mouth and Campbel's Chicken Noodle fills up the front? This soup goes sideways and spreads out to your cheeks. That is the best way I can explain it. If you don't know what I am talking about, make this soup and see for yourself.
CUCUMBER AND PORK SOUP
2 medium pork chops
4 cups beef stock
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon msg
Peel the cucumbers in halves lengthwise. Remove the seeds and cut in thin slices, crosswise. Cut the bones and fat from the pork chops and slice the meat and slice the meat into strips about 1 inch by ¼ inch by ¼ inch. Heat the salt and the stock. Bring to a boil. Add the pork strips and cook for 8 minutes. Add the cucumbers and bring to a boil again. Add the msg the pork slices are thoroughly cooked after boiling in the broth for 8 minutes; the cucumbers about as soon as they are transparent which is just a minute or two. Serves 4.
One of the reasons I like this book is that an suggested menu accompanies each recipe. The menu for this on is:
Cucumber and Pork Soup
Polenta and Chicken Livers
I guess that's how they did it in 1967. Care for more chicken livers?