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The Legendary Potato Soup

A Tribute

By Caroline JanePublished 9 months ago 3 min read
Top Story - October 2023
A Bowl of Legendary Potato Soup Tribute

Like many great legends, our soup starts with the humblest of beginnings: A scrappy bag of potatoes (already seeding) and a long-forgotten onion. The year was 1993, the location was Mad Manchester and little did we four house-sharing students realise that these past-their-best ingredients were set to become the foodstuffs of alchemic legend.

We had been on a night out and had danced until the wee small hours of the next day. During the night, I had dropped around two dress sizes and built myself a hunger the size of a drained tanker. I could have easily eaten my own arm. Unfortunately, I needed that. Ravenous, we attempted to "copper up" to buy some grub, but we soon realised that between us, we had the fiscal salience of the square root of F*&% All. Who needed food anyway, hey? It was all about the music and the people and the dancing and the... yeah, we were starving. We had spent what money we had getting to the club, getting in and getting back home again. Somehow, our eighteen-year-old brains forgot that somewhere along the line, we would have to eat.

Sat, in our student living room of mismatched charity shop armchairs, we admittedly felt a little foolish as Nicola swung the bag of sprouting spuds in front of us, saying, "Well... there's these."

Yeah. We did not hold out much hope.

Even when she said, "You know, I reckon I can make something from them."

None of us were in any way convinced.

Still, we indulged her. Silly Beggars can't be choosers now, can they?!

She disappeared into our box-shaped, couldn't-swing-a cat-in, falling-apart-at-the-seams kitchen and emerged about ten minutes later, saying, "It's simmering, should be ready in half an hour."

We nodded, unhopeful and bemused, and started calculating how long a person could survive on water and thin air.

Half an hour later, Nicola re-entered the confines of our sparse kitchen and emerged holding a tray laden with bowls of piping hot soup and the look of a Cheshire Cat that had made its own cream.

She presented each of us with our own bowl full.

I wrapped my hands around mine and cradled it like it held an elixir, mesmerised by its peppy and earthy fragrance. I dipped my spoon and salivated as the velvety goodness clung to it like a light and dewy cloud. As I lapped it up, with no word of a lie, I felt like I had received a hug from the inside out.

It was ambrosia for the soul.

Magnificently moreish.

Heaven in a bowl.

Exhausted and thoroughly satiated, I drifted off to sleep that night like a contented angel.

How had something so comforting and delicious been made from a bag of past-it spuds?

Truthfully, we will never really know because Nicola did not write down how she did it. We talk about it, think about it, muse over it, and laugh about it, but we have never recreated it exactly as we remember it. That Potato Soup, or "Pomme Potage", has become our food legend and lives on in the hearts of our shared and cherished memories.

The Recipe: Legendary Potato Soup ~ A Tribute:

A good knob of butter

A roughly chopped medium-sized brown onion

Half a kilo of peeled and diced floury potatoes (Maris Piper or King Edward work well)

Half a Kilo of chopped leeks - the white parts only.

A litre of Vegetable Stock - the store cupboard cubed stuff, rehydrated, is fine (plus it keeps well).

A good sprinkle of celery salt (half a teaspoon)

Black Pepper (to taste)

Single, pouring cream - to finish (about half to two-thirds of a cup/ 140ml)


Soften the chopped onion and leek in the butter over a low heat. Take your time with this; you do not want to burn the edges. It should all be soft and translucent. Add the chopped potato and celery salt and pour over the stock. Simmer until the potato is soft and breaks easily under a fork. Add pepper (probably around a teaspoon, but you will need to taste to check). Blend with a hand blender and then stir in the cream while the soup is warm.

Even if you aren't heading out to party like a new millennium is being birthed, don't worry; I can attest that this beautiful soup is perfect after a long autumnal walk in the sunshine... or the rain... or the snow...

I hope you enjoy this as much as we do.

(also.... no... it is not leek and potato soup - it is Pomme Potage... Shhhhhh, just believe and let the memory live on!)

With love,

CJ xx


About the Creator

Caroline Jane

Warm-blooded vertebrate, domesticated with a preference for the wild. Howls at the moon and forages on the dark side of it. Laughs like a hyena. Fuelled by good times and fairy dust. Writes obsessively with no holes barred.

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Comments (16)

  • Jay Kantor5 months ago

    Hi Cj - I'm writing a short with 'Family' recipes touched on. And, if you don't know by now I'm a little silly; ya think! I'm thinking of adding this (below) but I won't do so if it might embarrass you in any way; never my intent. * "It was suggested I post this into the 'Feast' Category. Who me, I burn microwave dinners - Nah - Cj would 'Noodle' me out anyway." Jk in l.a.

  • Novel Allen9 months ago

    Never having lived on campus, I believe i missed all the fun, darn it. But I did have some fun on long walks and partying, so I guess it evens out. This was a great tale of soup and fun. Kudos on TS,

  • thank you admin

  • The Dani Writer9 months ago

    Oh my goodness that is PRECIOUS!!! And you told the story so well! Yeah, pomme potage sounds so much better than leek soup. And now, at nearly midnight, I WANT SOME POMME POTAGE! After the day I've had, maybe it will make itself? Well done Top Storyan!

  • Naomi Gold9 months ago

    Back to say congrats on Top Story! 🥂 So glad to see this here. 🩷

  • Cathy holmes9 months ago

    This is great. Made me lol a couple of times. Congrats on the TS

  • Rachel Deeming9 months ago

    Can I ask - do the potatoes have to be sprouting? I can achieve this easily. It won't be a problem. Loved this, Caroline. Took me back to the days of soya mince bought in bulk and pasta twists with Dolmio and a bit of grated cheddar. Food of the gods. Glad Hannah pointed it out. I subscribe to you and missed it so glad it was "Raised".

  • Test9 months ago

    Loved this-So many 'student day' memoties, minus the good food, sprang to life! We just went to bed, pissed and hungry. A beautiful food tale of so much more than a nearly past it bag of spuds x 🤍 Brilliantly done!

  • S. A. Crawford9 months ago

    This is amazing - the story is so endearing and well written, plus I can't resist a good tatty soup😄❤️

  • Jay Kantor9 months ago

    Dear CJ ~ Sorry to be Soppy ~ But everything you write I relate to ~ You are such a marvelous StoryTeller just talking directly to us; what a wonderful-wit. But, this one just popped out a memory: Mom put Matzo-Balls into our Potato Soup - I reckon Starch wasn't really 'Starchy' back then - Hmm! btw; want a relatable giggle? Please see "Heartsy." *Ooh I see Ms. Naomi (below) I miss her so much! 'jb'

  • Naomi Gold9 months ago

    My goodness, you should be a food critic! I’ve never cared for potato soup. My mom would make it because we were poor, and I’d call it Holocaust Soup—because it’s a historical fact that it was served in concentration camps. But words are spells, and this is bewitching: “I wrapped my hands around mine and cradled it like it held an elixir, mesmerised by its peppy and earthy fragrance. I dipped my spoon and salivated as the velvety goodness clung to it like a light and dewy cloud. As I lapped it up, with no word of a lie, I felt like I had received a hug from the inside out. It was ambrosia for the soul. Magnificently moreish. Heaven in a bowl.” 😋 I loved the dichotomy of you describing your humble abode and “heaven in a bowl.” “we had the fiscal salience of the square root of F*&% All” got a genuine chuckle out of me.

  • Silly beggars can't be choosers 🤣🤣🤣 That soup sounds divine! I'm so hungry now!

  • Hannah Moore9 months ago

    Brilliant writing. I was a student in Manchester just about a half decade after you (I think I started in '97?) and reading this, well, it all played out in my minds eye in my own slug infested drafty shared house on the rusholme/moss side border.

  • Babs Iverson9 months ago

    Loved every word and spoon full!!! Terrific tribute and nourishment too!!!❤️❤️💕

  • Nice Entry♥️💯✌️😉

  • It is a favourite of mine, thank you for your recipe, and a great story

Caroline JaneWritten by Caroline Jane

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