This section is from the book "Mrs. Allen's Cook Book", by Mrs. Ida C. Bailey Allen. See also: The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat.
Any dinner is greatly improved by the addition of a hot, clear soup, plain or containing a little spaghetti, rice, or a few mixed vegetables, or even left-over shredded lettuce leaves, or finely-shredded cabbage.
The best type of soup to use as a stimulant is one of those which has a meat-stock foundation. However, these soups must not be confused in food value with heavy chowders or cream soups, and should be classed as accessories instead of foods. Many people object to these soups on the ground that "they are just so much water," while, as a matter of fact, they are stimulating, and if well-seasoned become indispensable. The foundation of them is a soup stock, and whereas this can be made from soup bones, a little meat and a few vegetables, it can also be made from scraps which accumulate about the house and which can be put into the stock-pot.
When the weather grows warmer, it is inadvisable to keep a stock-pot going unless one has a cool place in which to store the stock, and unless the family is large, for stock made from a mixture of foods should not be kept more than two days. Of course, if there are some chicken bones on hand, the trimmings and bones from lamb chops, or other scraps of meat and bone, they may be combined with a little onion, some celery tips or seed, some mixed whole spice, and made into soup-stock to be used within a short time, but, barring this, the housekeeper with a small family must rely upon meat extracts, or bouillon cubes, with a well-made white or brown soup stock for occasional use.
If carefully seasoned, the meat used in making stock may be used in rechaufees or salads. The desired vegetables should be added from day to day, for if they are added when the stock is first made, it will not keep well. Add the vegetables raw or cooked, or the combination of vegetables to be served in the soup, to one-fourth as much water as there is to be soup. If it happens to be raw cabbage, it should be rapidly boiled for ten minutes; if raw celery, onions, green pepper, or carrots, thirty-five minutes, the water being replenished as fast as it boils away. Extra seasoning may be added in the shape of a little mixed-pickle spice tied in a cloth or put in an aluminum tea-ball, so it may be easily removed, or bay leaf, some celery salt, and so on as may seem advisable. This may be added to the heated stock.
If beef extract or bouillon cubes are to be used, the vegetables should be added to as much water as there is to be soup. When cooked, the extract or cubes should be added. By using the water in which the vegetables are boiled all the minerals are saved. The necessary amount of beef extract varies according to the brand. The correct proportion of bouillon cubes is one to each cupful of water. By this method soups of many different flavors may be made from one kind of stock, or from prepared meat extracts or bouillon cubes.
At the same time, many left-overs may be utilized. Soups of this nature should be served mainly as a fillip to the appetite and an aid to the digestion, for they have little actual food value. They do, however, gently stimulate the digestive juices.