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By Laura Stec

Dad Food

Uploaded: Jun 18, 2015

Any foods remind you of Dad?

Is / was he a cook? Does / did he have a special dish, like Mr. Ickes' mean blueberry pancakes made post sleep-over at Joanne's house (my St. Al's grade school buddy). NW Resident, a Food Party! reader suggested we revisit this topic after talking about mom food on Mom's Day.

I thought about my Dad. It wasn't easy because, well, he didn't cook. Like, at all. If he was around I'd ask, "Dad, in 64 years of marriage did you ever even open a can of soup?" But I can't, cuz he's first-year-gone this July. ☹ Gone but ner' forgotten.

Ed Stec was a soup-lovin man. Lucky for him my mom gave good soup. So when I think Dad Food, I think mom and her homemade Pumpkin Soup and Refrigerator Soup(s) that he enjoyed so much.

Mom's Refrigerator Soup is easy to make, delicious, and it fits perfectly into our discussions-of-late on food waste reduction. Made mostly from leftovers, it's always different, but oh-so tasty. I've been wondering how she puts it together for years, and finally asked while visiting Michigan this week. Now I know the secret, and so will you.

Any foods remind you of your Dad?

Mom's Refrigerator Soup
- recipe by Helen Stec

Everything goes into my soup pot except fresh lettuce. Tonight for dinner I am combining our leftover breakfast bacon into the leftover fried potatoes. If any is still left, it'll go into the soup pot. Extra green beans, rice from Chinese takeout? I've even chopped up leftover lasagna and added that in.

3 ? 5 cups leftovers and food scraps, gathered in your freezer
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2-3 cups water
1 packet French Onion Soup Mix (the secret)
Chicken stock
Extra fresh chopped veggies, or tomato whatever (fresh, sauce, canned, paste?) (optional)
Herbs of choice ? mom likes celery seed and rosemary
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Gather leftovers in a Tupperware soup pot and store in the freezer. Fill it up until you have 3 ? 5 cups.

In a medium size pot, sauté onions in oil until light gold. Add in the frozen soup pot, water and onion soup mix. Stir, melt, meld and then add chicken stock to cover as needed. If you don't have enough vegetables, add some fresh, chopped ones, or anything "tomatoey" you have around. Bring to a boil, reduce to low, and simmer 20 minutes until hot and flavors have combined. Add a few dashes of fresh or dried herbs of choice. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle up and enjoy.

Happy Fathers Day to all Dads here and gone.

- Ed Stec, definitely not cooking (photo by Laura Stec)

P.S. Guys - what do you cook for dinner and how do you incorporate vegetables? Would love your good ideas for an upcoming public Belmont Library class - Guys in the Kitchen. Thanks!