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A Salute to Old Reading – Mushroom Soup

Realizing that my recipe articles broach topics of health and wellness more often than just being a recipe, I thought I would address the topic of humility because I feel that it’s not something we as a society talk about enough and it certainly factors into our overall well-being. To be humble, you must continuously remind yourself of your deficiencies. I was reading Harry Dietz’s article in the Sunday paper recently and in it he was addressing a reader who apparently has, on multiple occasions, provided anonymous and not so pleasant feedback. I took it to heart, because in the article he mentioned that he sometimes writes about his wife who recently passed away, because it not only helps him in his grieving process, but it helps readers everywhere gain their own perspective. Lets face it, death and taxes are a reality that we all meet one day, no matter what background, race or religion we belong to.

I often write about my late mother, even though it’s been over 8 years that she’s been gone; I find inspiration in sharing stories about her and her recipes because her cooking was loved by many, and because it’s still healing for me to write about her even after all this time. Athough I don’t know Mr. Dietz personally, as with many writers in our local newspaper, I often feel a connection to our community by what they write about as I read their stories; and I know from my own experience as a contributor, that readers from many walks of life feel that same connection. I felt overcome with a fragile and delicate sadness when I read about the anonymous reader’s feedback, and I can only hope that gentleman since had the decency to come forward and apologize to Mr. Dietz.

Today I share with you one of my mom’s winter soup recipes. I actually forgot about this one for a while until my dad made it recently and offered me some leftovers. He’s becoming quite the chef in his own right, although I’d say he and I both learned from the best instructor. The inspiration for this recipe comes from a restaurant in Reading back in the 1970s called Joe’s Restaurant, located on Laurel Street between about 6th and 7th. The Czarnecki family, who has since moved to Oregon and opened a restaurant called The Joel Palmer House were the original mushroom truffle farmers, picking wild mushrooms from our local area and bringing the best in farm to table fine dining more than 4 decades ago. My mom recognized the delicious recipe and this is her version of Joe’s original mushroom soup. You’ll have to find a good variety of wild mushrooms, and it may never be exactly the same; your best bet is to go to the West Reading Farmer’s market.

Getting back to humility…everyone grieves at their own pace and in my humble opinion, tenderness and kindness go much further in terms of offering someone strength in hard times than to blatantly state that one should “get over it.” In this season of grace and thanksgiving, lets all take a moment to remind ourselves that humility and tenderness are not signs of weakness and despair, but manifestations of resolution and strength. Thank you mom, in heaven, for your continuous inspiration, in recipes and in life.

3 lbs of wild mushrooms
1 medium vidalia onion
sauté in butter and olive oil with salt and pepper for about 20 minutes
4 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup heavy cream

Use an immersion blender and blend to a creamy consistency.

Serve with homemade croutons: Slice a French Baguette about 1/8 inch thick and brush with olive oil, salt and pepper. Toast in the oven for about 5 minutes at 400 degrees, and then top the soup.

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