Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup–The Amish Version

First I have to get in the daily FDR-LiMi dig. I wasn’t going to say anything, because no one at either place is doing anything noteworthy, but then I caught this gem of a contradiction regarding the thread “Freedomain Radio and Liberating Minds,” which I am following now because it mentions me. I guess people’s memories only last a few pages.

On page 5, threebobs wonders aloud about this:

In this world of mass-murding, mass-stealing, mass-enslaving, mass-corrupting, mass-imprisoning, mass-religious indocrination, and torture…they choose to attack….FDR, the people trying create an equal moral system.

He doesn’t remember that on page 1, board owner and thread starter Stefan Molyneux already said this:

There is no point libertarianism talking about the “big ethics” until it can effectively implement the “little ethics.” We cannot take a stand against the state if we are afraid to take a stand against verbal abuse…

The LiMi guys are only tackling the little ethics that stand in the way of effectively tackling the big ones–just like Molyneux says they ought to. No worries, folks. It’s exactly what the FDR guys would do in their place.

/End Daily Dig

The Mushroom Soup
I am participating in two online gift exchanges this Christmas, and one of them I have already received a package from. In it was a cookbook of traditional Amish recipes, formatted by typewriter and with a comb binding, dating from before they had easy and cheap desktop publishing programs and access to print on demand. I have quite a few fundraiser cookbooks from elementary school and this one fits right on the shelf with them! I’ve only flipped through the book, but lots of things sound good and nothing sounds disgusting. That encyclopedia of cooking I have from the 1960s contains some disgusting recipes, so I have a pretty good gauge of what could have been in it. The thing I am worried most about encountering in this Amish book is sour cream. I have a feeling a lot of recipes are going to call for it.

I have actually already made the cream of mushroom soup; astonishingly, I had 8 ounces of sliced mushrooms already on hand from when I cooked that pot roast last week. They were getting a little brown and ready, so they made the decision for me (although I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again–I do like soup). We also only have whole milk in the house, which is practically cream. If I’d known how quick a cream of something soup would go, I would have been making these for years!

It starts sort of stinky; you have to add 3 chicken bouillon cubes (or 1 tbsp of that broth base in a jar), two slices of onion, and all the mushrooms to 2 cups of boiling water, and let it simmer for 20 minutes in a 2 quart saucepan. Boiling mushrooms aren’t nice, at least these week-old kinda brown ones weren’t. It smells more like dirt than anything, so it won’t make you gag. It just doesn’t make your kitchen smell like supper. Luckily, while that is simmering, you get to melt 1/4 of butter in a 1 quart saucepan, and stir in 3 tbsp of flour. It smells much nicer. When the flour gets a little thick, add 3 cups of milk and stir until that gets a little thick. Then, gradually stir the milk into the mushroom broth. Salt and pepper to taste. Like I say with every soup I’ve posted recipes for, if you’ve used bouillon instead of your own chicken broth, you probably will not need to add salt at all, ESPECIALLY if the butter is salted, too. Husband was in charge of the seasoning and he probably added more pepper than I would have. It definitely had a kick, but a kick you could control for. I was sorry that there weren’t any leftovers. I was sorry too that I didn’t add more mushrooms. I think 8 ounces made the mushroomy goodness too sparse.

What’s funny is that most of my life I really didn’t like mushrooms. I still heartily dislike eating them raw. Something about the smell and the texture is off-putting, and it’s a cross-species aversion. Cooked, however… cooked… I don’t remember the year, but I remember very well the restaurant (except for the name, because it has since closed, but it was affiliated with The Mission Cafe–a favorite breakfast joint) and the company. Husband and I were out in Hillcrest with Russ, and I don’t know how it happens but when the three of us used to go out we always end up eating somewhere a lot more expensive than I think we are going to end up. That is, I know in advance what restaurant it’s going to be, but it’s always fancy. We must have been to a movie already or something, because it was well after dinner and we just had some appetizers. I’d never had syrah wine before that night, either, and we were letting it flow. I must have been drunk, because I decided to order the mushroom soup. It made no sense, because I did not like mushrooms. This version was highlighted on the menu as a house specialty, though, and it was wintertime, so it was like 58 degrees outside, and there were some fancy kinds of mushrooms listed in the description. It. was. delicious. Delicious. I don’t want to say that it turned me into some kind of truffle-hunting aficionado, but I am attracted now to recipes and menu selections just because they have mushrooms in them, with one significant exception–I don’t care for those straw hat mushrooms or whatever they’re called in Chinese food. They are light brown and squeaky and always boiled. Those I can do without.

Thinking about it now, I don’t cook them nearly often enough. There is another mushroom soup recipe in this Amish cookbook that is not a cream soup that I am very curious about. It gives you the option of adding light cream at the end. There aren’t very many ingredients in it, but the spices sounded interesting (I can’t remember what they were right now), so next time I am bored about food I’ll try it. It involves chopping the stems and cooking them separately from the tops, and cutting up the tops for a different part of it, which sounds pretty hard for a lazy person to do.

It’s not the first time I’ve had a food flip flop. Fresh tomatoes were a huge problem for me my whole life, and then one day my brother brought over a girlfriend to meet me and my mother and have dinner at my mother’s house. The girlfriend brought an appetizer. It was just caprese salad, with roma tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, and olive oil, but I’d never had it before. Why would I order that in a restaurant? I didn’t like uncooked tomatoes. Everything about that dish looked so yummy, though, that I decided to suck it up 1) because it was the polite thing to do and 2) I really like fresh cheese. I do not regret a thing (although I still dislike all uncooked tomatoes cherry-sized and smaller, and sun-dried tomatoes are just vile). It makes me sad retrospectively, in fact, for all those fresh tomato and onion salads that I couldn’t enjoy as a kid because tomatoes made me gag (and serving them with raw onion didn’t help).

I also wouldn’t eat avocados, just out of principle–green and squishy? forget it–until I was a senior in college. I was back at school early for my second year of residential advisor training, and the whole staff went out to eat at En Fuego in Del Mar. When you are a returning RA instead of a first-year RA, you get more of the spotlight. I’d spent the summer taking a class at an Italian university with a group from Rutgers, which meant I had exotic stories to go with my magnificent tan and a New Jersey accent you wouldn’t believe. (It took a week or two for me to lose it entirely.) I was getting a lot of attention and I guess I wasn’t paying attention to where I dipped my chip. I couldn’t have asked for a better indoctrination into the scintillating atmosphere of tableside guacamole.

I tried sushi only out of embarrassment to impress a boy. We were on our first date at Quigg’s Bar and Grill in Ocean Beach, and he asked me if I liked sashimi, so I said yes. This is the boy who asked me out in March and accepted at face value that I was busy when I said I was too busy to go out until the first weekend in June and asked if he would call me that Wednesday before. I was too busy–I really was!–and he did call but I sure as hell wasn’t going to disagree with anything he suggested not one half-hour into our dinner. Turns out that when a plate of sashimi comes, it is raw and red and a little jiggly, and a lot more like Jell-O than I was expecting. I didn’t know what to do or what to say. I didn’t even know it was raw fish. At least I have mad chopstick skillz, so I picked up the smallest piece and went for it. Maguro rocks!

I married that boy.

What I still haven’t had is toro. I’ve heard that it’s better than maguro. I don’t know why I haven’t had it; it’s pretty readily available, and it’s no kobe beef. Kobe beef is right up there with fois gras as a food that I didn’t know I wanted until I heard how evil and/or expensive it is. It could really go either way which one I am likely to taste first. I could have kobe beef shipped to my house, but I would probably cook it badly. In the meantime, I’ll content myself with those frozen beef meatballs from Costco that make such a nice addition to a jarred spaghetti sauce dinner. Did you know you can get Classico sauce at Target for $2.09? And that most flavors don’t use anything but food ingredients? Trust me. That’s a steal. Newman’s Own jars were $2.17. I wonder if that’s a reliably stocked product.

God bless the big box stores.

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