[savory poem + recipe] sing a song of soup

“It is impossible to think of any good meal, no matter how plain or elegant, without soup or bread in it.” ~ M.F. K. Fisher

“Vegetable Soup” by Joe Anna Arnett
by Nancy Dymond
Combine the following and stir:
A fragrant powder of savory herbs
Tree nuts tossed and gently toasted
Vegetables oiled and slowly roasted
Broth of beef, honey of bee
Flake of parsley, salt of sea

In a great pot over a medium flame
Provoke rolling bubbles of rising steam
Turn to the lettuces; wash, chop, mix
Color with celery and carrot strips
Raisins? Almonds? Olives and cheese?
Tomatoes? Scallions? All of these?

Reduce the flame to a quiet simmer
Set the table for evening dinner
A scalloped knife beside the bread
Jam to sweeten and butter to spread
What more could a person want from life
Than a salad, a soup, and a loaf with a knife?

~ from Sleep Barn (Stockport Flats, 2015).
“Salad Bowl” by Tjalf Sparnaay (oil on linen, 2006)


It’s always nice when soup season returns each fall. There is something so comforting about having a pot of soup simmering on the stove with its promise of a satisfying meal later on. Making soup is calming and therapeutic — you can’t rush homemade soup.

One of our favorites is Autumn Garden Soup, a recipe I found ages ago in the Washington Post. The basic recipe calls for root veggies — potatoes, turnips, carrots, and parsnips — but of course any combination of your favorite vegetables will do.

The best soup recipes are versatile and forgiving; use what you have on hand and/or what you like. The recipe also includes a list of suggested variations — ingredients to be added during the last 20 minutes of cooking. These include smoked ham, sweet or hot sausage, pasta and cooked beans. This time we added Great Northern Beans, opting to keep our soup meat-free. A lovely dinner with a side of cornbread. 🙂

This recipe can also be made in a crockpot. Just reduce the liquid (5 cups of chicken stock instead of 10). Either way, it’ll be delicious. Happy Slurping!

Autumn Garden Soup

  • Servings: 10 to 12
  • Difficulty: average
  • Print


  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, trimmed and diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 cups (1/2 med head) shredded cabbage
  • 2 medium potatoes (preferably Yukon Gold), peeled and cut into 1 inch dice
  • 2 medium turnips, peeled and diced
  • 2 parsnips, peeled, trimmed and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 cups canned plum tomatoes, undrained, lightly crushed (28-oz can)
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 9 to 10 cups low sodium chicken broth or stock
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. In a large pot, heat the oil on medium-low. Add the onions, increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions have just begun to soften, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 45 seconds. Add the celery and carrots and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the cabbage and cook, stirring occasionally, until it has just begun to wilt down, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the potatoes, turnips and parsnips and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the crushed tomatoes and their juices, parsley, broth and several pinches of salt. Cover partially and bring to a gentle boil.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium-low and adjust the heat so that the contents simmer gently. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours. You may need to add more broth during the last hour of cooking if the vegetables are not completely covered and simmering. Season the soup with freshly ground pepper and salt to taste.
  1. You may add kielbasa or sweet or hot sausage (which has been browned in a skillet) during the last 20 minutes of cooking.
  2. Cooked pasta may be added during the last 5 minutes of cooking.
  3. Diced ham, smoked turkey, Canadian bacon or cooked beans may be added during the last 20 minutes of cooking.
  4. Sprinkle 1 to 2 tablespoons of grated Gruyere or Parmesan cheese over each bowl of soup just before serving.
  5. Soup may be divided into individual portions and frozen for up to 6 weeks.
~ Adapted from a recipe in the Washington Post, as posted at Jama’s Alphabet Soup
Cornbread Chef Cornelius wishes you a happy weekend!


Lovely and talented Ruth Hersey is hosting the Roundup at There’s No Such Thing as a God-forsaken Town. Zip over there to check out the full menu of poetic goodness being shared around the blogosphere this week. Enjoy the rest of your Thanksgiving weekend!

*Copyright © 2021 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

25 thoughts on “[savory poem + recipe] sing a song of soup

  1. Thanks for the soup recipe! After yesterday’s Thanksgiving feast, soup sounds wonderful! Have a great weekend, and don’t forget to buy from a small business on Saturday! Saturday, November 27th is small business Saturday!❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jama, what a great poem! And the soup recipe is perfect for a weekend lunch for some friends coming over tomorrow. Thank you for both. By the way, have you read Adrienne Su’s Peach State (a collection of poems published by University of Pittsburgh Press, 2021)? It is all about food & cooking. I loved it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. When I read a poem as you shared, Jama, I am in awe of Nancy Dymond’s skill in showing us wanna be poets the way! It is such a beautiful, creative poem. I bookmarked your soup recipe for Christmas goings on! Thanks, and happy Weekend to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, oh, oh! The soup looks yum, but that cornbread! My first meal on my first trip to America as a teenager, featured cornbread, and I have hunted for the recipe ever since and not found one that produces anything like it – but yours looks just like it! So light and fluffy! (And yes – we did have it with soup!) Please can you share? (Or if you already have, could you post the link?) I would be sooooo grateful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The cornbread in this post wasn’t made from scratch — I used a Whole Foods mix which I tried for the first time and liked. 🙂 The only from scratch cornbread recipe I’ve used and liked calls for Bisquick (do you have that down under)? It’s nice and buttery and not dry like some cornbreads are.


    1. Thanks for slurping with us. We had a lovely Thanksgiving — whenever there’s pie, it’s good. 🙂 Hope you had a nice time with your family.


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