POWEGIAN WONDERFUL SOUP
2 celery stalks
2 medium onions
2 red bell peppers
1 cup fresh spinach
3 big tomatoes
1/2 cup raw, unsalted peanuts
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup milk
2 cups vegetable broth
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon Jamaican All Purpose spice
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1 teaspoon parsley
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon tarragon
1/2 teaspoon thyme
Mince carrots, celery, onions, red bell peppers, spinach, and tomatoes. Grind peanuts into powder. Add all ingredients to large soup pot. Cook on medium-high heat until soup boils. Stir frequently. Lower temperature to low heat and simmer with lid on for 40 minutes or until onion and carrot is tender. Stir occasionally.
1) This Powegian soup has a rich tradition.
2) In late 1863, Annabelle and Clayton Morrison left Vicksburg, Mississippi for good. They had lost everything during the Great Siege even though they had resolutely taken no sides during the Civil War. The Confederate Army had requisitioned all their crops, all their livestock. The Yankees burned their home and all their buildings to the ground.
3) After the briefest of cries, Annabelle had told her husband she never wanted to see their accursed land again. But Where would they go?
4) “I’d like to go to California to grow carrots, celery, red bell peppers, spinach, tomatoes, and peanuts,” said Clayton,
“Why, I declare,” said his devoted wife, “when did you come up with this pla?.”
Clayton furrowed his brows for dramatic effect. “I’ve always wanted to grow all that.”
“I never knew,” said Annabelle. “Why did you never say anything about it.”
Clayton shrugged. “There’s a powerful lot of pressure ‘round these parts to grow cotton. Folks would have laughed at me if I had grown anything but cotton. King Cotton, hah!” He gestured to the burnt farms all around. “Annabelle, I need to go to California, where a man can grow whatever produce and herbs he wants and no one will think the less of him for it.
Annabelle nestled against her husband’s shoulder. “And so you shall. I’ve always wanted to catch a peak of the Golden State.”
4) And so, Annabelle and Clayton Morrison made their way west by wagon train. They faced floods, raging rivers, poisoned wells, and Apache attacks. Some of their fellow wagoneers turned back, but not the Morrisons. Fired by their vegetarian dream, they pressed on.
5) Finally, on May 5, 1864, they reached Poway, California. Their hearts soared at the valley’s majestic beauty. So did the flocks of bluebirds that flitted and swirled about them.
6) Months later they harvested a bumper crop of carrots, celery, red bell peppers, spinach, tomatoes, and peanuts. Annabelle wanted to provide a feast right there and then.
“Not yet, dear wife. I need to go to the port of San Diego. I’ll be gone a few weeks.”
“Land sakes, Clayton, two weeks, whatever for?”
Clayton smiled. “A surprise, a wonderful surprise.”
7) Two weeks later Clayton returned bearing fabric for new dresses for his love. She had not had a new dress in years. More importantly though, he had traded for: bay leaves, Jamaican All Purpose spice, ground mustard, parsley, sea salt, tarragon, and thyme.
Annabelle threw up her hands in delight. “Now I can make wonderful. I’ve already made mayonnaise and vegetable broth and I can borrow some milk from the Hendersons.”
8) Thus Annabelle, Poway’s great pioneer lady, made her soup. And it was indeed wonderful.
– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef
My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.