[Recipe] Merging a Family

Getting married comes with a lot of baggage that no one often expects. There is the name change process (should you choose to change your name), the pressure from family concerning potential bouncing offspring, dealing with differing familial traditions, and so much more. Even the work that is put in to creating your own household is enormous and under appreciated among the general populace.

One of those road bumps for my Husband and I has been the idea of food.

Well, really food is not so much an actual obstacle for the two of us. My Husband is a garbage disposal (his own words) and loves my cooking to the moon and back… Growing up on a regular diet of Vegetable Soup, Sauerkraut and Kielbasa, or anything else you can throw into a pot at a moment’s notice will probably do that to a person.

But as a new wife who wants to please her Husband and create a household of traditions, food, and the like which is indicative and celebratory of both our origins… I feel an intense pressure to somehow combine his family’s eating traditions with mine- especially since food was such a large and important part of my family setting growing up.

So far, however, all attempts to merge our familial recipes has resulted in bitter disappointment. Until this week, that is. It turns out that the one dish my Husband and I’s family actually have in common is so simple that it is almost laughable: Potato Soup.

In his family, it is made with Cream of Mushroom, Milk, Potatoes, and that is essentially it; it was another one of his mothers’ “survival recipes”- something that she could throw together on a stove and leave be like most everything else that she cooks. In my family, however, it is made with Milk, Potatoes, Kielbasa, and Onions and was a dish we eagerly waited all year for my Father to make at the first sign of cold weather. It was a winter staple for us, and one that we loved and looked forward to.

Over the last two years that my Husband and I have been together, I have been tinkering with both our familial recipes in an attempt to create a blend of methods which were indicative of their origins. It was not until last night that I finally made a break through and got it right. Needless to say, we’ve been feasting on a large pot of it since then.

Looking back at it now, it seems funny that I would care so much about one dish that happened to have been made across both families. In retrospect, though, I feel like it is also not funny at the same time.

There is something deeper than the food here: A need to show my Husband that- though I may not get along with certain members of his family- I appreciate and respect where he comes from, and it means a lot to me; I feel as if it shows my dedication to this marriage and our relationship that I would want to successfully merge something so trivial in the grand scope of things.

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I know that my Husband knows that I love, cherish, and respect him. I know that he will love, cherish, and respect me in return regardless of my culinary success. My Language of Love, however, is and always will be Acts of Service- particularly the act of cooking for those I love. Even if insignificant and ridiculous, it is important to me as a new wife to show him that appreciation. And if this is the way that I have in order to do so, then I will take great, unapologetic pride in the fact that I have managed to create something so small, but which is the perfect metaphor for marriage: The seamless, happy blending of two different families with distinct traditions.

Boyett Family Potato Soup

  • 4 Medium-Large Potatoes
  • 1 Large White Onion
  • 1 Clove of Garlic
  • 1 Package Polish Kielbasa
  • 2 Cans of Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 4-6 Cups of Whole Milk
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste

Scrub the potatoes, but do not peel them; the skins should be cleaned but left in tact for this recipe. Once clean, cut the potatoes in to 1/2 inch thick cubes. Peel and dice the Onion, and mince the Garlic as well- then cut the Kielbasa into thin, quarter inch slices. Combine all items in a bowl, and set aside.

In a large stock pot, whisk together the Milk and both cans of Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup over a medium heat. When the mixture is finally boiling, reduce heat and add the vegetable mixture to the base. Add more milk to cover if necessary, then Salt and Pepper lightly for the time being.

Cook the Soup on low heat for 20 minutes, or until a fork- when inserted in to the Potatoes- goes in easily; the Potatoes should be neither too firm, nor so soft that they disintegrate when pressure is applied. Turn off the heat, finish seasoning to taste with Salt and Pepper, and allow the soup to set uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes.

Serve, and enjoy.


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