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Creamy Potato Soup for those cool fall days

September 20, 2011

There is a soup that I love.
The first time I tried it, I was at the Council House at French Camp. If you haven’t visited the Council House and the Historic Area of French Camp, just off the Natchez Trace, you are in for a treat. The food is always delicious and the historic area provides glimpse of life in Mississippi in the early years of our state.
For the full experience, make plans to go to the Annual French Camp Harvest Festival is set for Oct. 8, beginning at 9:30 a.m. In addition to an auction of handcrafted quilts, woodcrafts, ironwork and other items, the historic district will feature sorghum molasses processing, bluegrass music and craft demonstrations. It is a fun event for the entire family.
And when you go, you must try this soup at the Council House with cornbread and friends. If it is a nice day, sit on the porch. It is lovely.
Growing up, my high school friends and I would occasionally make a quick trip to the Council House to eat breakfast on the porch on Saturdays, but many times, they were serving lunch by the time we all made it out of bed.
I also love starting off the Christmas season in French Camp. We used to go over the weekend after Thanksgiving. Each year, the French Camp Community creates lighted scenes of the Christmas Story throughout the historic district. The driving tour is a sweet way to begin the holiday season.
And the observatory is amazing. There is nothing quite like seeing the moon from one of those huge telescopes on the hill.
The only bad thing about visiting French Camp late in the evenings is the Council House is not open. They should be. Creamy Potato Soup can be enjoyed for every meal. I am sure of it.
Both my mom and my mother-in-law both received a copy of the Creamy Potato Soup recipe and I love their versions, but in a different way.
My mom spent a few years in Texas, and since that time, she has to add a “little kick” to everything. She is the queen of Hot Rotel, jalapeno peppers and red pepper flakes. In her version of this fantastic soup recipe, she will add hot Rotel tomatoes and she makes her soup very thick. She has some notion that leaving the peel on potatoes is healthy, so in her soup, she has chunky potatoes with skins, chunky onions and her soup eats like a stew of sorts. Very good, but a different spin.
My mother-in-law goes by the recipe and makes creamy potato soup with onions so fine you do not realize they are in there. The potatoes provide a little texture, but can almost be eaten with a straw.
I would have to say Creamy Potato Soup with my mother-in-law’s Mexican Cornbread is in my Top 10 favorite meals of all time.
What could be better on a cool-ish fall day?

Creamy Potato Soup

4 cups peeled, cubed potatoes
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
2 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup milk
1 cup whipping cream
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons parsley
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Combine potatoes, celery, onion, water, and salt in a large dutch oven.
Simmer covered for about 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
Stir in remaining ingredients; return to medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until soup is thoroughly heated. Makes about 7 cups.

Gwen Sisson is the Lifestyles Editor at Starkville Daily News. Contact her at sdnlife@bellsouth.net

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