My father subsisted on pea soup and bean soup, more or less, for the last twenty years of his life, those things plus some Polish sausage and almost ripe tomatoes. Making them is easy and cheap. The biggest challenge is remembering to soak the beans/peas overnight. You can use leftover ham as a base, or the parts of the ham that you didn’t want to eat because they were too fat or too hard to pick off the bone. You can see why this is such a wonderful peasant food. It stays good for a long time. In fact, it improves with age. Nothing is wasted. You can also toss in whatever vegetables were laying around. It all turns into a kind of thick gruel that tastes pretty good if you put in a little pepper and salt.
I don’t make these soups as much as I did when I was in college. Back in college pea soup and bean soup were among the foods that had the three attributes I craved: they were cheap, reasonably nutritious and I could make them. That is probably why my father ate them all the time too. But my kids don’t like either, so they cannot form the basis of a family meal. As I recall, I didn’t like them either when I was a kid. I learned to like them when I was in college. No doubt under my father’s influence, I made it from scratch, the less expensive and better way, rather than buying the pre-made stuff in cans.
You can get pea soup at some nice restaurants, but it is kind of a specialty not common most places.
We had ham for supper and we have ham bone left over, so today I made bean soup. In a couple of days, I will make some pea soup with what still will be left of the ham. This week, we will dine like the old man taught me.
Oh yeah, he used to make cabbage soup too. I haven’t made that for a long time. No matter how much of this kind of food you try to eat, you really cannot get fat on it. These kinds of food fill you up before they can fill you out – the original diet food.