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Delicious Pennsylvania Dutch Soup Recipes

As they cleared the woodlands in Pennsylvania, the only food to eat was soup.  To the early Pennsylvania Germans, soup was the all-purpose food. It took time to clear the land, raise the first crops, and raise cattle and poultry. In the meantime, people had to eat.  They could not wait for the harvest and the butchering.  Soup was frugal and filling.  The farm wives added whatever food was available and they could drop into the soup kettle. It kept body and soul feed.

Even with only milk and flour, they made two kinds of soup; brown flour soup and Rivvel soup. Combining milk, potatoes, and onions, they had another two more kinds of soup: potato soup and onion soup.  Thus, these early Pennsylvania Germans called the milk based soups "pour man's soups."  Nevertheless, to the end of their lives they remembered how good they had tasted and smelled.

Today we continue to make milk soups. It happens that we like them.

As their livestock increased, their fields and gardens yielded grains, vegetables, and herbs, the Pennsylvania Germans began creating soups that are more substantial. Compared to the poor man's soups, they called these soups rich.  They were soups that could be easily "stretched," if an unexpected guest arrived.

One day, Uncle Pete came to visit Harry and Esther Showalter on their Roaring Springs farm. Uncle Pete was a devious sort of fellow. Instead of saying that he was hungry, told Esther, that he could make Stone Soup.  Now Esther has made soup from just about everything, but she had never tried to make soup from a stone.

"First," said Uncle Pete, "we must find a fine, round stone in the fields."  He rushed out into the cornfield and found a fine, round stone.  He asked Esther to put water in the stockpot and get it boiling.  With the clean and polished stone, he dropped it into the boiling water.

"Now," he said, "We need some potatoes, some cabbage, and some onions.   Oh, yes, some corn and some string beans. In addition, let us see, some tomatoes. Better, add a little parsley and seasoning, too.  While you are at it, just toss in a good-sized piece of meat.  There now, I think that is all.  This is Stone Soup."

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