Cream Soups: Celery and Potato
A. Make Croutons in the Oven.
B. The Principle of Cream Soups.
Wash and scrape some celery, and cut it into half-inch pieces. (Often only outside stalks and leaves are used, while the white, crisp pieces are kept to serve uncooked.) Cook about half a cup of celery, to which a small piece of onion may be added if desired, in boiling salted water. When soft, rub through a sieve. Make a white sauce using one tablespoon each of butter and flour, and exactly half a cup of celery water. Thin with milk, measuring the amount used, until you obtain the right consistency for a cream soup. Adding the amounts of water and milk used, what do you determine is the usual proportion of flour to liquid needed to thicken a soup?
C. Prepare Potato Soup.
To two tablespoons of mashed potato, add half a cup of thin white sauce. Add milk, measuring the amount, to make a soup of the right consistency. Serve with croutons. How much milk was used all together ? Why is more needed here in proportion to the flour than in celery soup? To make the soup richer, part cream may be used, or white stock instead of water, or a spoon of well-beaten egg white or of whipped cream may be placed in the serving dish before the soup is poured into it.
The term vegetable, as it is commonly used, includes many foods which botanically would be classed elsewhere. Rice, macaroni, French chestnuts, and even tomatoes and cucumbers are all examples of such foods. At least, it will be admitted that if they are not vegetables they are used as such.
Classifications of vegetables are many. One is made according to the part of the plant from which they come. For example:
Bulbs: garlic, onions.
Leaves: Brussels sprouts, cabbage, lettuce, spinach.
Seeds: beans, corn, lentils, peas, rice.
Stems: asparagus, celery, chives.
Tubers: Jerusalem artichokes, white potato.
Although this is of interest, it is not much help to us from the food standpoint.
Another classification, made according to food value, gives us succulent, or watery, as opposed to starchy vegetables. This is sometimes misleading, if one concludes from it that watery vegetables have little or no food value. Not only do they contain valuable mineral salts, but, as Sherman, in his book on Food Products, justly says, "Even those fruits and green vegetables that are eaten for flavor with little thought of food value, and which are often thought of as luxuries because of their high water content, will often be found to furnish energy at no greater cost than many of the familiar cuts of meat, when account is taken of the extent to which the fat of the meat is usually rejected or lost in cooking or at the table." This classification, however, is suggestive, especially in menu-making. It is much better to serve a variety of vegetables together, rather than too many from one class. Rice, potatoes, and macaroni are much better substituted for. one another than served at the same time.
Composition of Vegetables.
An old classification as to season shows, at least, how times have changed, for with greater facilities for transportation from both North and South, together with hot-house vegetables, the display in a market no longer follows the old list. Celery, for example, was given as a fall and winter vegetable, whereas it is now to be found most of the year.
The classification which helps most in cooking is undoubtedly that into mild- and strong-flavored vegetables. In the first, every effort should be made to retain as much of the flavor as possible. In the latter case, the result may be improved if some of the strong taste is removed.
U. S. Dept. of Agriculture. Farmer's Bulletin No. 256. "Preparation of Vegetables for the Table."
1. Make a list of as many of the common vegetables as you can that would contain sufficient starch to have a thickening effect in making soup.
2. Make a list of succulent vegetables which you think would make good soup. How would a recipe for making cream soup from these differ from one for making soup with starchy vegetables?
3. How could the materials for making a cream soup be combined otherwise than by mixing the flour with the melted butter? If you were making a larger quantity of soup, say a quart, which method would seem to you easiest?
4. Using a cook book, make a list of seasonings which are desirable to use in soups.