Meat Soup and The New Year

I love the new year. It’s an exciting time, a time for reflection, a time to make improvements for a better future. Many bloggers have been posting terrific compilations of their Best of 2008. I was reflecting on Taste With The Eyes, how much I have enjoyed writing, learning more about photography and cooking and blogging, making friends and enjoying blogs from around the world. How neat this is, how incredibly neat.
Thinking back over the year of my posts, I think Meat Soup is my favorite. Why? Because it arose from a conversation with my mother about old recipes. Because she shared a recipe from my Nana that I had not remembered. Because we talked about my Father, my Nana, and my Papa who all passed away years ago. Because as a result of our conversation, I was able to share a snippet of our family history on my blog. And, last but not least, because it is a darn good soup! I will definitely be making it in 2009. Beef short ribs have become one of my favorite ingredients. Farewell to 2008, and here is Meat Soup one more time:
What’s in a name?
The other day I was asking my mother, Joyce, about recipes from the past.
Ma: Your Nana (my paternal grandmother) made excellent soups.
Me: Like what? I remember her chicken soup and borscht…what else?
Ma: Oh, I liked her meat soup.
Me: Meat Soup?
Ma: It’s like chicken soup but with meat. I think I still have the recipe…
My Nana was born in Kiev, Russia 1894. The family fled to Canada to escape the pogroms when she was a young girl. Her name was Vitte but she took her sister’s name, Fanny, after Fanny was killed in a machine accident. She met my Papa (paternal grandfather) when they were teenagers and their families were living in the same apartment complex in Montreal. His name was Yitzcok when he was born in Romania 1891 but changed it to Isadore upon arrival in Canada when he was 13 years old. He celebrated his Bar Mitzvah on the boat. Fanny and Isadore married then made their way to America and settled in Chicago where Papa took on the name, Irving, and they raised their children, Edythe and Leonard (my father).
I remember one day when we were kids, my Dad asked us if we knew Papa’s real name. I thought about it and said “Is” because that’s what Nana called him. Then I fell into a fit of giggles, “What kind of name is Is, Dad? That’s a verb!”
My nephews are Stone Leonard, his middle name in memory of our father, and Jett Izzy‘s middle name is in honor of our Papa – Is, or Izzy.
Meat Soup
3 1/2 lbs. short ribs
4 carrots
2 onions
2 parsnips
3 celery stalks
1 parsley root
1 c. dried large lima beans
Egg noodles
These are the ingredients my Mother has listed on her old recipe index card from notes she took years ago while watching her mother-in-law make meat soup.
Here is how I made my Nana’s soup:
Put short ribs in a soup pot full of water, heat on high until the water boils, then turn down the heat to a simmer. Skim off the scum and fat constantly. After 1 1/2 hours add rough chopped vegetables and beans. (I couldn’t find parsley root so I used a bunch of parsley). Simmer another hour or so, until the beans are cooked and the meat is butter-tender and falling off the bone. Season with salt and pepper. (I also added some beef base). To serve, put cooked egg noodles in a bowl and ladle soup on top.

Meat soup. What’s in a name? Indeed.

Oh, and I forgot to mention back in September that I was named after Papa’s oldest brother, Louie.

Happy. New. Year.

Lori Lynn

P.S. Food bloggers and non-food bloggers alike, do you have a favorite post of yours from 2008? If so, please leave a comment, we would love to (re)visit it.

24 thoughts on “Meat Soup and The New Year”

  1. I love this description of part of your family’s history. These are the kinds of family stories that are often lost if someone doesn’t tell them to us, because they’re not always written down anywhere. Thanks for sharing…and it fits in so perfectly with your recipe for today!

  2. LL,
    You already visited my deadhead bread and sausage/butternut squash pasta!

    My great grandparents (bubby and zaida) were from Austria Hungary, and Russia, Poland on the other side.
    I don’t remember a meat soup, but remember my maternal grandmother (born in NY in 1923) making delcious matzoh ball soup and the best stuffed cabbage. I miss her cooking and I miss her.
    Thanks for letting me think about it tonight!

  3. Mmm, that sounds good. So simple and tasty. I love the pictures and philosophy of your blog. Your images really do inspire!

    I’m not a food blogger and I only just started blogging a couple months ago. That said, my favorite 2008 post is from December and does not mention food:

    Another post I like from December, which is about food:

  4. as a Chinese, soup is always, part of our dinner, i have soup about 3 times a week, my favorite is ABC soup-chicken, potatoes, carrots and preserved vegetables stem all boiled together.

  5. Short ribs in a soup sounds wonderful. I coincidentally had them for dinner in a restaurant last night and I was licking my fingers. Enjoyed the narrative about your family.

  6. Your meat soup looks terrific and thanks for sharing some of your family’s history with us. The funny thing is I posted about Russian salad a few days ago and I’m also born in Romania, what were the odds for that, lol 🙂

  7. Just wanted to drop by and wish you a Happy New Year. Thanks so much for your comments ! This soup sounds wonderful. I love to hear stories like that about family. They’re always the best ones.

  8. What will we be without memories? A lovely the story aboyt “Is”!
    This meat soup will soon find its way to our table, we’re only into soups and stews with this cold weather!
    Have a wonderful 2009!

  9. Love this entry..My family comes from the suburbs (shtetls) of Kiev… Kasmin and Roshkov. We had meat soup, and of course borscht, my Bubbie’s the best in the world. My people came to NYC, my Mom when she was 12, my Dad at 14. But that’s another story. I placed my parent’s names on the Wall of Honor on Ellis Island. I have a story about that which I will blog soon. Thanks for the rush of memories. I can’t do Meat Soup anymore..vegetarian now, but I remember! What would bubbie say?

  10. The pictures made me hungry!! You are right about recipes from the past. I remember a meatloaf recipe that my grandmother used to make. No matter how we tried it never came out the same as hers. Your article brought that back to me. There is something to be said for tradition.

  11. Thank you for the recipe and for sharing the wonderful memories that make the soup all that more special.

    Happy new year, Lori Lynn!

    Your friend Susan’s dining room IS gorgeous 🙂

  12. I remember that meat soup. For me it is not so much the post that is my favorite but all the wonderful places I ate and the meals I cooked. I love all the memories I associate with them and especially the people I got to share them with, even the my blog friends.

  13. Hi LL, My nana used to make a soup that was very similar – most of the ingredients were the same, even the beef short ribs, but she called it “cocido”. Thanks for stirring up some of my own good memories of comfort food past. I wonder why this didn’t occur to me when I read the original post?!?!?

    Oh, and I think that my favorite Taste with the Eyes post from 2008 is the Nori crusted filet with Wasabi Butter – it’s all in the experience: shopping, prepping, cooking, and eating with good friends and good champagne (Al’s birthday brunch, remember?). Happy New Year. FA

  14. Thanks for such a “neat” look into your family. Can you imagine having a bar mitzvah on a boat with no shock absorbers??? I mean, now it’s trendy, then …not so much. This so looks like a shtetl type soup – I love it.

  15. hey, my grandmom is ukrainian and she always has amazing food. although im vegetarian and don’t eat most of them, the ones i do eat are so good. have you tried perogies?

  16. I love these stories! I wish I knew more things about my grandmoms and dads… what a hard life they all had and how wise they were!

    A delicious soup Lori!!! Soups are the best these cold days 😀

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