Marica Cooks Monday | Saturday Morning Preparations

I was looking through The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper this morning. The next few days are forecast to be quite cold and so I was looking for something hearty, and something that would warm up the kitchen.


That cookbook has some excellent soup recipes. The section begins with the claim that no one makes her own stock/broth anymore, which we know to be false as stated– no one, not a single living soul– but probably true enough when you look out there at the City Mice world. The first recipe is thus one for a jazzed up veggie or chicken stock. Begin with three cans and add a bunch of really good things to them. Not a bad idea for City Mice.

One of the recipes called for toasted whole wheat bread (just happen to have a homemade loaf in the freezer) rubbed with garlic and placed at the bottom of the bowl. Simply pour over the jazzed up stock and top with some cheese. Not bad but not quite… . I’ve got it!

French onion soup.

And where does one go for a good French onion soup recipe? The Frugal Gourmet. The recipe itself is ridiculously simple but it does call for “Basic Brown Soup Stock (page 40)”:

Tell your butcher that you need bare rendering bones. They should not have any meat on them at all, so they should be cheap. Have him saw them up into 2-inch pieces.

Roast the bones in an uncovered pat at 400° for 2 hours… .

Place the roasted bones in a soup pot, add 1 quart of water for each pound of bones. For 5 pound bones, then add 1 bunch carrots; 1 head celery; 3 yellow onions, chopped with peel and all. (This will give a lovely color to the stock.)

Bring to a heavy simmer, uncovered, and cook, for 12 hours.

12 hours. Now that should heat the kitchen up! Plus– I still have celery growing out there. I can harvest some before the big freeze! (I’ll add some parsley, too!)

Now, you may be wondering if you have ever told your butcher anything at all. YOu may not even know who your butcher is! And if you did know your butcher and if you did tell him you need rendering bones– and if he works at Kroger– do you know what he’d say? “No.” I am not kidding. You can not buy soup bones at Kroger because they no longer sell them. Corporate policy straight out of the Cincinnati home office.

Fortunately for me, we do not live in Cincinnati. We live in the country because we are country mice.

So when I told Mr. Big Food I had decided on The Frug’s French Onion Soup for Marica Cooks Monday and that I was going to need some beef bones, do you know what he said? “We better get to Sansings before they close.” (Sansing’s Meat Processing, Salvage Grocery, and Sod Farm is only open until noon on Saturday. Closed Sunday.)


I had in mind a nice long post. But the reality was 18 to 16 Steelers vs. Bengles.