I didn't do a whole lot of cooking on my mission, and when we cooked, we kept things pretty simple. A couple of my companions were vegetarians, and I remember phases of eating endless varieties of vegetable stir fry. However, one of the charms of serving in a place so different from my home in Texas was getting to taste new and different foods, sometimes with new ingredients, sometimes with familiar ingredients. As we shared an occasional meal with members and others in our area, I began a collection of my favorite recipes during my time there. This recipe collection is another of my favorite keepsakes.
While I was serving in the city in Frankfurt, my companion and I met and visited with a British woman named Shelly who was living in Germany. She had recently returned from a vacation in Scandinavia and cooked a meal for us that she called Scandinavian Autumn Soup. I recorded the memory in my journal.
It reminded me a lot of home, and yet was different from the vegetable beef soup that I grew up with. She shared the recipe with me. I've modified it to include standard measures. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
1 pound ground beef, browned
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrots
2 cups diced potatoes
16 ounces canned diced tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 cup quick barley
1/4 cup lentils (optional)
2 cups of beef broth
4 cups water
salt and pepper to taste
Brown the ground beef. Add the onions and celery and cook the mixture until the vegetables have softened, about 3-5 minutes. Add the carrots and cook another 3-4 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for about an hour. Great with a hearty, crusty bread.
Every time I make this soup, it reminds me of my time in Frankfurt and, for a second, I feel like I’m a missionary again. Do you have any food that takes you back to your days as a missionary?