by Tara Davis

Lately I have had many conversations about favorite family recipes. My great aunts and grandmothers made the best fried chicken, dumplings, oyster dressing and caramel cakes I have ever tasted.

I know people whose mothers are famous for potato salad that never, ever includes bacon, or mirliton cakes that must contain country ham.

Our early food experiences inform our adult lives in ways I believe we often take for granted. Sometimes they lead to uninformed judgement from any side of the conversation. (I personally don’t understand how anyone can hate garlic or tomatoes, but I despise mayonnaise. 6 of one, eh?) There is so much middle ground between mocking and interest, between disgust and fascination, in food as in life. Whether from nostalgia, preference or actual quality, the things that comfort us will always resonate.

Today, I share with you a recipe inspired by the most comforting food my mother always made me growing up. Her version is still the best, but I give you mine, as well as some suggestions for ways to round out your meal.


Potato soup- serves 4-6

Large dice 6-8 russet potatoes.

In a large pot, heat 3 Tbsp vegetable oil over medium high heat. Lightly salt and pepper potatoes and cook for 5 minutes in oil.

Add 1 Tbsp minced garlic, 1 quart chicken stock and 1 pint half and half. (Potatoes should be covered by liquid- if not, add until they are).Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes, or until potatoes are fully cooked and liquid has thickened. Add 2 Tbsp butter to finish. Salt and pepper to taste.

I like to top mine with ham or cooked bacon, shredded cheese and green onions and call it a meal. But it is an excellent addition to the rest of dinner. I suggest grilled pork chops and salad, sausage and sauteed spinach or baked chicken and green beans.

Thanks for reading!