Recipe – General European

The informant learned the following recipe for potato soup from her mother:

The informant briefly summarizes the recipe: “It was just a few, um, ingredients: potatoes and milk and cream, and salt and pepper, and onions, and usually it was in a crockpot, uh, but it made a nice, simple, creamy tom—potato soup . . . a simple potato soup that you’d make for the big family. Um, I’m sure it had some of her European background to it, uh, as well. But just simple.” Her expanded account of the process of making the soup is here: Potato Soup

She describes the recipe as “pretty much something you’d make quite often, but not for any particular occasion . . . just, you know.”

The informant likes the recipe but has given up on making it for the moment due to her frustration over the last time she tried to do so: “I haven’t—I haven’t had very much—the last time I tried to make it I screwed it up and something meant—went wrong with the milk, or either the milk was in there and got scalded, or, uh, it cooked too long with the onions or something, but I screwed it up last time and haven’t tried it since.”

Potatoes are known for being cheap, hearty, and, despite the informant’s difficulties, easy to cook, so it makes sense that the recipe would have been made for a large family, since large amounts of the ingredients could be thrown in a crockpot and left to simmer without effort until the milk and cream were added. The informant didn’t specify what part of Europe her family was from, but at least two cookbooks, The Frittata Affair (134) and Delicious Soup Recipes (36) contain similar recipes under the title “Irish Potato Soup,” which is not surprising given the status of potatoes as a staple in Irish cuisine. Both of those recipes, however, substitute butter for cream.


Johnson, F Keith. Delicious Soup Recipes. New York: Ventures, 2010.

Pochini, Judy. The Frittata Affair: Adventures in Four-Star Dining at Home. Bloomington: AuthorHouse, 2007.