Welcome to Marmee's Pantry

Welcome to Marmee's Pantry

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Depression Era Potato Soup

Like many my age, my parents' childhood was spent in the era of The Great Depression. In your case, it could even have been your grand-parents. Because of those childhood memories of going without, they spent the rest of their lives growing, harvesting & canning; fixing instead of just buying a new . . . anything, taking great care of what they have, being able to work w/their hands & simply not being afraid of HARD work. They are/were great examples of that old pioneer saying:

"Use it up,
Wear it out,
Make it do,

Or go without!"

Both sets of my grand-parents were farm families in very rural east-central Kentucky ~ one of the most beautiful places in the USA, but so hard hit by the Depression. But, in my humble opinion, there was something wonderful that came out of my Bigmom's kitchen that was passed down to my mom, to me &, hopefully, our girls will follow ~ & that was her potato soup.

Now, this is not your typical restaurant-style, fluffy, creamy "potato soup" ~ this IS real potato soup & it is the ultimate in comfort food at our house. I understand that some of you who may not be used to such simple fare may not think much of it, but to me it is one of the best, most "homey," comforting foods to come from my kitchen, especially on a crisp fall or winter day, & it is what I crave when I'm sick.

You will need:

~16-20 c. water in a large cook-pot
~8-12 medium-size white taters (Idaho potatoes for non-Kentuckians), depending upon the size of your family
~1/4 c. bacon grease (grease from pepper bacon is the best), or butter
~salt & pepper to taste


~While water is heating on stove, dice the potatoes into 1" cubes
~Once water has come to a boil, CAREFULLY & slowly add potatoes to the water so that the hot water doesn't splash
~Add bacon grease, salt & pepper; stir to blend
~Bring back to boil then reduce heat & simmer for 30 minutes, covered or not, until potatoes are tender
~Ladle into a soup bowl; you may need to salt & pepper just a little more depending upon your taste.
~Enjoy one of life's simple pleasures.

Blessings from Ohio . . . Kim<><


  1. I will be giving this recipe a try soon, Kim. Thank you for sharing the recipe...and the memories.

  2. We here in Michigan LOVE our potato soup..My..Granny would add what she called krinkles, krinkles were noodle dough but hand dropped into broth..yep, as children/grandchildren we fought over who got the last krinkle in the bottom of the pot of potato soup..This is by far the most favorite and often asked for meal this time of year..
    thanks for sharing this warm thought
    I'm off to make potato soup...YUMMO
    ~~Peace & Love & Blessings~~

  3. I am from Kentucky & you better believe i know all about this soup! Our family grew up on it. Big pot of "tater soup" and cornbread! Yum its wonderful for "supper" on cool fall & winter nights. We also love a big pot of soup bean,fried "taters" and cornbread! You cant beat real country cookin' I am from Madison county. Which part of Ky was they from?

  4. This sounds so delicious and even better than the restaurant style with all the cheese and spices! More calorie friendly too - even with the bacon, I'm guessing.

  5. Dear Homemaker ~ my mom was from the Wrigley/West Liberty area, isn't that Madison County? I love it there.

    Blessings from Ohio . . . Kim<><

  6. Thanks for the potato soup recipe; it is a great comfort food. I like the old adage of "Use it up,
    Wear it out, Make it do,Or go without!" I think in our economic environment we should all work on this one.
    Enjoy the weekend and the journey!

  7. I loved this post! I am from Idaho, and they have been harvesting potatoes like crazy this last week! I love potato soup, and this recipe sounds like a keeper, very authentic! It was so interesting to read the history of your grandparents - we are very blessed to have life so easy.

  8. I am originally from Kansas. My great grandmother used to make her extra special potato soup. However, she used cream in it, a little diced onion, salt and pepper. I have been wanting to make it again this winter. So good with cornbread with honey butter.

  9. This is the soup I grew up with but we add rivels made from egg and flour and dropped in by the spoonful

  10. Alta in ArkansasJune 4, 2017 at 1:13 AM

    This is exactly how I make potato soup: water, potatoes, and butter. Mother made it this way and sometimes would add a little flour for thickening and she did use bacon grease as she always had a grease can sitting in the middle of her big old country stove. Nothing better than plain old potato soup to make you feel better and I crave it when I get sick. You just cannot beat good old-fashioned home cooking.

  11. I found your site by accident and it was the best find ever! I have looked and looked for the potato soup recipe that my grandmother used to make and this is it. Simple, basic and scrumptious! Thank you for sharing.


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