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Cooking Pioneer-Era ‘Survival Soup’

To read the story referenced, “The Long-Lasting, Never-Go-Bad ‘Survival Soup’ The Pioneers Ate,” click here.

I have used this concept for years, being taught to cook by a depression-era person. You threw NOTHING away in those austere days, and I have done the same for years. I keep a small crockpot going at all times. It starts in the morning with the drainings from the dehydrated hash browns I soak, and through the day I feed it with vegetable peelings, drainings from canned foods, the bits of meat and vegetables (yes, even right off plates because after all, it gets boiled, no germs there) and bones that I trim from the meats I can and freeze. I keep a “general theme” in mind as I go – sometimes it is a chicken/poultry theme and things that go well with poultry dishes go in the same pot. Other times, it is a beef theme, sometimes a vegetarian theme, or a Tex-Mex-tomato based theme, etc. Anything not in the theme of the day is frozen for later use. I nosh on the broth through the day and it keeps my caloric intake down. When the pot is full and especially flavorful, it is dinner (usually every 3-4 days). Then I start over with a new “theme.” The flavors are indeed ever-changing as I nosh, add, season and simmer away. The old-school European cooks did this as well with their ever-simmering “stock pots” and the never-ending pot is the friend of frugal cooks everywhere.



I was introduced to this way of cooking on a hunting trip with two other men. I was not the cook, so I had no input. Everything that was left over went into the pot. All went well until we had leftover scrambled eggs. Don’t, I repeat, don’t ever put scrambled eggs in the kettle.


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