My Son’s Soup

I talk about kids learning about food and nutrition just as much as I talk about the obesity epidemic. That is not a coincidence. I feel strongly that the best answer to the future health of our world lies in education. It is up to us parents to make this happen. Since we have 5 kids I start right here at home.

I think that it is more important to be resourceful and creative in the kitchen than it is to be able to prepare a handful of recipes by rote. Nearly every recipe I write is meant to be adjusted, played with and changed at the will and fancy of the cook on the other end. Ingredients are never exactly the same and availability changes by season, location and demand. Tastes change and evolve, too. My son used to eat lemons whole and now won’t touch them. Things change.

We cook and feed our family really well. They are somewhat spoiled. We cook and sit down together as a family at least four times a week and often more. We also buy some frozen food for easy preparation. But there are times that any or all of them have to figure it out. Somehow they must, since we never seem to have any food left.

Last night was one of those occasions. Only the vegetarian had not been fed and was asking me what was for dinner. I knew there was next to nothing in the house, I wasn’t about to go to the store and he wasn’t about to eat frozen mac and cheese. I said: “How about soup and you make it?”

I stirred a little, advised on some knife technique and turned the flame down. It seems that the immortal aspect of being a teenager slops over into the overuse of fire. I turn down more flames than anything else in the kitchen. So this soup was improvised by my son Harrison, and I thought I would share it with you. It was improvised completely from what (little) was on hand. I thought it was delicious. You can certainly make this recipe, or you can improvise your own. The basic premise is the same.


  • 3 Red Potatoes, quartered
  • 2 Celery Stalks, chopped
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 1 Ear Roasted Corn, off the cob
  • 16 oz. Vegetable Broth
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 1/2 Cucumber, sliced
  • 1 Teaspoon Chili Flakes
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  • Pinch of Hungarian Paprika
  • Pinch of Cumin
  • Sprig of Fresh Thyme
  • A Few Fresh Mint Leaves
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper


  • Chef’s Knife
  • Large Pan
  • Stick Blender (Optional)
  1. Sauté the onion, celery and chili flakes in a little olive oil with a little salt and pepper in the bottom of the pan. 
  2. Add potatoes, water and broth and bring to a boil for about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Adjust seasonings.

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