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Friends of Spo know I collect recipes. I continually search for cookbooks in antique stores. This is not unlike an archeologist seeking out evidence of lost cultures.  Church cookbooks bound in metal or plastic binding are my favorite. They not only tell me what people ate, but their attitudes towards cooking.

About a year ago, I obtained my Grandmother’s box of recipes.  It is just the sort of thing I treasure. The recipes are handwritten, from a time long ago (viz. the 50s), and of personal interest too.  On Labor Day I finally sat down to go through it.

Overall the recipes were a disappointment. Lots of the cards were illegible. Most of them consisted of recipes “anybody would have”, things like ‘Bean Salad”,“Chicken and Rice”, or “Cherry Pie”.  What interests me is finding something special, something unique.  The box content was edited down to a only a few remaining cards.

Here is Grandmother Spo’s recipe for Hamburger Soup.  I remember having this; it is associated with my Grandmother. It is not a ‘usual’ sort of soup. While it isn’t complex, it is satisfactory.

Hamburger Soup

1lb ground beef

2T butter

2 quarts water

2 t beef bouillon

1/4 cup barley (pearl type)

2 cups chopped carrots

1 cup chopped celery

1 medium onion, chopped

28 ounce can stewed tomatoes

3/4 cup lima beans (optional)

2 large bay leaves

4 t salt

1/2 tsp pepper

Brown beef in butter in a large soup pot. Add all ingredients. Simmer for 1.5 hours.  Serve with French or Sourdough bread.

One recipe card made me pause and raise my eyebrows. It is titled “Cure All for Everything”.     All it says is –

Hot tea        Honey        Lemon Juice     Bourbon

I think this constitutes a “Hot Toddy”. I need to look up the ratio of ingredients.

This sounds more appetizing than Hamburger Soup, no?

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September 2010

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