“’Got ta make us up a little stew,’ she said. ‘We ain’t et nothin’ cooked right sence we come from home. Pa, you go up to the store there an’ get me some neck meat. Make a nice stew here.’ Pa stood up and sauntered away.” From The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Ma Joad really starts to boss her man around in the middle of the book, “Pa sniffled. ‘Seems like times is changed,’ he said sarcastically. ‘Time was when a man said what we’d do. Seems like women is tellin’ now. Seems like it’s purty near time to get out a stick.’ Ma put the clean dripping tin dish out on a box. She smiled down at her work. ‘You get your stick, Pa,’ she said. ‘Times when they’s food an’ a place to set, then maybe you can use your stick an’ keep your skin whole. But you ain’t a-doin’ your job, either a-thinkin’ or a-workin’. If you was, why, you could use your stick, an’ women folks’d sniffle their nose an’ creep-mouse aroun’. But you jus’ get you a stick now an’ you ain’t lickin’ no woman; you’re a-fightin’, ’cause I got a stick all laid out too.’”
I love that woman.
Curried Chicken Soup
6-8 cups of chicken stock
2-3 medium red potatoes
1 medium onion
2 large carrots
3 cloves garlic
2 cups cooked rice
Madras curry powder
As much crushed red pepper as you can stand (some like hot!)
Extra corriander, cumin, turmeric, etc. to spice it up as you see fit
Bring the stock to a boil and add the spices. Add the vegetables and cook until they are tender. Add the rice and serve hot with bread or crackers, or just enjoy it plain.
There are numerous variations on this soup. You could add other Indian spices, if you have them around, like fenugreek. Also, fresh ginger or powdered would taste good too. You could add some coconut milk for a creamier broth… and those are just some Indian-spiced variations. You could just as easily make a more standard chicken soup and add celery, parsnip, turnip, just about any vegetable, really. You could substitute noodles for the rice (I contemplated using a cup of the mini stars instead). You could make drop biscuits and cook them on the top of your soup… This is what makes a good chicken stock so invaluable, you can do anything with it.
For me, it was remarkably inexpensive because I already had everything in my kitchen, most of it was leftover from the dishes I’d previously cooked. Depression cooking may get a little repetitive (I’ve finally run out of carrots, so don’t expect to see any more for a while – I’m not the biggest carrot fan even when I haven’t been eating them for 2 weeks!), but it sure is cheap to keep up with.