* Taters (called “potatoes” in some regions of the country);
* Onions (recommended but optional),
* Water (amount varies, depending on the number of taters you use, and the desired thickness or thinness of the soup),
* Spices (a variety: see below),
* Thickening agents such as flour or corn starch may be used if desired, but if you’re using fresh taters, there should be ample starch in them to cook up a pot of glue if you leave it on the stove long enough,
* Lubricant or grease of some kind (for options, see below),
* Milk (optional. Use soy or mammalian. Milk of Magnesia should be saved to use only after the soup has been eaten).
* Brandy (wine may be substituted, or even whiskey, but perhaps in lesser quantities. See disclaimer below**).
Depending on the number of servings, and depending on the size of the potatoes available, use one potato (two potato, three potato, four…). If it is for a large party or banquet, use five potato, six potato, seven potato, more (and so on).
Peel the tater(s) (optional), and cut whatever is left over after peeling into bite sized portions. If the pieces appear to be too large for a soup spoon, plan on using tablespoons or ladles. Don’t use forks, as you can wear yourself out trying to eat soup with a fork. But keep a fork handy (see below).
Place the cut-up pieces of tater in a pot large enough to hold them along with an adequate amount of water to cover them. Use clean water whenever available. Turn the burner to a setting that will cause the water to heat to a boil. Otherwise, you’ll be standing there for a long time.
If you’re using onions, peel them and cut them up as you did the taters. If using wild onions, one should be sufficient for even a very large pot of soup. They tend to have a strong taste and tend to turn the soup green, so don’t over do it. However much you use, go ahead and put it in the pot with the taters.
Add thickening agents, but use some discretion unless you need to repair sheetrock or plaster in the kitchen area. Try not to get it all over your face and clothes, unless you have time to wash up and change before your guests arrive. You don’t want them to know all your secrets, do you?
Season to taste. Purely tasteless people shouldn’t bother with this step at all, and it would be especially pointless if your dinner guests are also tasteless people. Judging from things posted frequently on Bookface every day, such a condition might be more common than some might suspect. Some cooks like to add parsley, but remember, this is tater soup, not parsley soup.
If you like seeing little oily beads floating in your soup, add oil or some kind of edible cooking lubricant. But do so sparingly. Otherwise, the soup will slurp down so quickly you’ll hardly have time to enjoy it. Some folks like to use butter or margarine, but you can use lard. Vegetarians should use a vegetable oil. Bullfighting enthusiasts should use Oil of Olay. I’m not sure what Presbyterians should use, but whatever it is will have been predetermined.
For a creamy finish, add cream or milk. The quantity and quality of the milk, if used at all, will be left to the discretion of the chef. If an intention is to convert the tater soup to a chowder or bisque, you might wish to refer to a chowder or bisque recipe of some kind. When making bisque, the soup sometimes gets as drunk as the chef, but I’ll leave that up to you.
Pour approximately three ounces of brandy in a separate container such as a glass. If you’re alone not needing to make a fashion statement, you can forego brandy snifters and use a coffee mug. This should be a sufficient amount to sip on while your soup comes to its first boil.
You may substitute wine for the brandy, but you should increase the volume by two or three to one if you do. If the low setting on your stovetop is very low, a second bottle of wine may be necessary. For those who insist, whiskey can be used instead, but never use any whiskey that you wouldn’t take straight, as it could make your soup crooked.
After the potato pieces and water begin to boil, turn the burner down to a lower setting. Refill your coffee mug or brandy snifter with a sufficient amount to satisfy your thirst while the soup continues to cook down.
After a reasonable amount of brandy has been consumed, test the tenderness of some of the boiling tater pieces by attempting to jab them with a fork. It’s a good idea to keep your hand and arm out of the soup during this procedure, especially if you’ve had a recent manicure you don’t wish to ruin.
No matter how done you think the soup is, do not serve until all the guests have had at least as much brandy or wine as the cook. After you turn off the stove, wait until the bubbling subsides before serving unless the meal is some kind of religious ceremony where you would have all the guests calling out the many names people have used to describe the Deity over the years.
When you’re certain the guests are properly prepared (hints will be that they need to lean on the table in order to stand up, or are making improper suggestions to each other and laughing about it), serve the soup in bowls.
**Disclaimer: Harrumph! Whereas and so forth, if the cook and guest have not yet reached the age of adultery, it will be required by law in most states to substitute some non-alcoholic substance in lieu of brandy, wine or whi (hic) skey.
You can use plates, but unless you keep the portions very small, the soup is likely to spill over onto the tablecloth (if you’re using a tablecloth), and even onto the floor. Nothing else need be served with the soup because by now, your guests shouldn’t even care one way or the other.
If you wish this to be a memorable occasion, have a generous supply of pepper sauce on the table for your guests. The next morning, each and every one of them will call out your name with a most sincere intensity warranted by the generosity of your adding those spicy condiments to the table the evening before.
You can also use this same recipe for mater soup. Just substitute maters for taters. The only variance is the fork. Jabbing maters to see if they are tender is only necessary when cooking green mater soup, and nobody in their right mind does that. ‘Sposed to fry green ones anyway, right?