Monday, January 24, 2011

Keeping the past alive in some way.

Europe, Asia, India, Africa, it's not unusual to see buildings and structures that date back centuries in that land's history.  However, in the United States, our own history is often destroyed in the name of "progress".  We are still considered a relatively young country, yet we can find very little that dates back to our own beginnings.  What is called constructive, is, in truth, destructive; that's my opinion, and I'm sticking to it.

However, in families, one item that is treasured is "family recipes", handed down from generation to generation.  In other countries, these recipes can be traced back by centuries, and many were brought to the United States by immigrants.  My own grandparents came to this country from Croatia, and with them came many wonderful recipes which were passed on to my mother, and then myself.

Here is one that I'd like to share:

Split Pea Soup
This recipe has been passed down from my maternal grandmother.  She emigrated, from Croatia, in 1925 with her husband, and was pregnant with my uncle.  In 1935, she gave birth to my mother.  My mother recalls, when she was a little girl that she would go to the butcher for ham shanks, and four would only cost 25 cents.  My grandmother began teaching me how to cook when I was five years old, and when he was six years old, I began teaching my son.

2 cups dried split peas
cold water
1 large smoked ham shank
2 cups carrots, peeled and cut into ¼ inch slices
3 cups potatoes, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups fine egg noodles, uncooked
In a large bowl, cover the split peas with water; soak overnight and drain.
In a 5 qt stock pot, on high heat, bring 3 qts of water to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium; add in the peas, carrots, potatoes, onion and ham shank, cover.  Occasionally stirring, let these cook until the meat can easily leave the bone; about 30 minutes.   Remove the ham shank, pull off and shred the meat, return meat to stock pot. 
Let the soup cook another 30 minutes before adding in the egg noodles.  Cook an additional 10 minutes and serve.
Makes 6-8 servings.
Mary Cokenour
January 24, 2011

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