my homeland is the kingdom of wuerttemberg, stuttgart it's capital. that is under bismarck. the republic created after world war I and the revolution of 1918, but especially the weimar republic left no doubt in grandfather. my father's father firmly believed in his king. a painting of wilhelm II hung in his office. a cruel shot by a drunk nazi to the heart of the king hit only a button in the uniform and the small tare was quickly fixed with glue and a piece of fabric from my grandmothers trove. i grew up with these folk. they raised me, despite stern objections and ultimate resentment of my mother. i grew up in the back of the pub. antecedent i sat up front at the bar with the occasional draw of the draught - only the foam, mind you, but mostly you found me in the kitchen. back where the maid peeled potatoes and grandmother ruled. a famous soup originated in that cavernous hall. depending upon request, demand and supply, it was called vegetable soup. it always had an old piece of bread, or two as its base, it always had rosemary, thyme and tarragon, grown in the kitchen garden behind the pub, what would be known these days may be as bouquet garni. she added, if she had, carrots, onions, garlic, potatoes, tomato, as often as not, especially after the war, the second war, she had virtually none of those items. still it was vegetable soup, aka once around the kitchen. she was a master at making those soups, last but not least via the sink. or adding another piece of old bread rosted in some peculiar oil, always deep in knoblauch, garlic to you, sometimes quite a lot, roasted ever so slow, after the first war, from what i've been told, on an open hearth, firewood traded for beer, the pub named karmeliter had been around for ever and was leased from stuttgarter hofbrau, the famously infamous beer company, by those, my delicious, sometimes mysterious grandparents round about 1921.
so this soup, the one i make tonight has all those very variants, cooked, finagled, plotted and tricked, much as in those very days of my beloved minaele. easter is next weekend. don't know why, i feel very much like easter, hard boileds painted, chocolate eggs collected, though not as yet hidden, a bunny grazing the lawn outside my window this late in the evening. my dear grandparents had a passion for easter. and the fun for their grandson searching for hidden treasures.
i rant, i'm by myself, if by the open fire, bach gently from the old, yet completely dependable a&r speakers, what else to do? so here is the soup. onions in oil, garlic, bread, on an ever so slow fire, some sage, then, in the other pan carrots, potatoes and since i had it, fennel, chopped and roasted in a spoon of anis. done up in the beautiful, the new double bottom steel pan, stephanie donated to our batterie de cuisine. eventually combined in the carrot pan, with some tarragon and broth to soak and sweeten the bread. simmering, even at that, so very slowly. it is as close as i can get to my minaele's, my grandmother's kitchen.