Monday, January 16, 2012

The Vichyssoise....

...delicious was!  Or so said my Aunt Peg.

Aunt Peg was the beautiful and lovingly spoiled youngest of seventeen siblings.  She was my mother's sister.  My sisters and I adored our huge family of aunts and uncles.  They were all clever and witty with a great sense of comedic timing.  With a good agent, most of them could have hit the big time from vaudeville to Saturday Night Live.

We looked forward to spending time with Aunt Peg on our annual October visit to Virginia.  It became even more import after our mother died.  We had lists of questions to ask her about the family and she obliged the answers which were usually spun into stories.  One day at lunch, she ordered a bowl of potato and leek soup.  After extolling it's tasty preparation, Aunt Peg said:  "I'm so glad it's hot.  I had this once at dinner with Jack Kennedy".  Jack Kennedy?  She went on to say that she was, indeed, talking about JFK.   She also said that the soup was served cold and that neither of them really liked it much.

We were filled with questions but Aunt Peg was on a roll and we wanted to let her get the story out.  She spoke of taking the train to Washington D.C..  She told us she was quite stunning in a new "tomato red" suit.  She sat beside JFK at a luncheon.  Or, was it a dinner?  It was before he became president.  She couldn't remember the function.  After all, she was in her mid-eighties when she told us this story.   We did wonder, since this occasion would have been prior to 1960 when all the siblings were still alive, why it had never been spoken about in the family.

True or not, it's a great family memory.  It came to mind as I prepared "hot" Vichyssoise for our lunch recently.

Leek and Potato Soup

4 to 5 medium-sized leeks, dark green tops removed, thoroughly washed and thinly sliced
2 Tbsp butter
Salt to taste
4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 quart of chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
1 cup of half and half
1 cup of milk
Pepper to taste

1.  In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.  Add the leeks and a little salt and cook for five minutes, stirring often.  They should just sweat out their juices rather than brown.  Decrease the heat to low and cook until the leeks are tender--about 15 minutes.  Stir occasionally.
2.  Add the potatoes and the broth.  Increase heat to medium high and bring to a boil.  Immediately reduce the heat to low, cover, and gently simmer until the potatoes are soft and falling apart.  This will take about 35 to 40 minutes.
3.  Puree the mixture in batches in a food processor or use an immersion blender until smooth.  Stir in the half and half and milk and adjust the seasonings.
4.  Serve hot or cold.



  1. This is one of my favourite soups. I do love a good potato dish.

  2. Just made this on Saturday. Almost identical. It was wonderful.

  3. forget the soup, send me that biscuit. signed "bread addict"

  4. I love this story. I just got back into town last night with no groceries in the frig. This may be our dinner tonight. Thanks for sharing both the story and recipe. (I think it is absolutely true!)

  5. oops, forgot to say, what a great story about JFK. it is strange it took so long to surface. i have never even seen a famous person, much less had lunch/dinner with one

  6. Seventeen siblings?!! Wow. You had/have a lot of aunts and uncles!
    Would love to hear the complete story of JFK...isn't it a shame we don't ask the right questions when we are younger? I could kick myself!

  7. What a nice story! 17!!! I have never made this, but love to say it!!!

  8. a favorite soup of my moms- i will definitely have to try this next time she is in

  9. In two weeks, potatoes will be back in my diet ... and I will make be making this soup. YUM.

    I love unusual family stories that just come up in conversation. And having lots of aunts and uncles is so great, too.


  10. Oh how good this will taste for lunch on this dreary winter's day! I shall enjoy and think of your dear Aunt Peg and JFK while I enjoy.

    Thanks sweetie!

    God bless and have a warm glorious day!!!

  11. Wow---what an incredible family. 17 siblings???? How many are still alive?

    I'll bet you did enjoy talking to Aunt Peg. Sounds like she did have stories to tell.. JFK, huh???? Wow!!!!!

    The potato and leek soup sounds GREAT... Thanks!!!

  12. I could go for a bowl of that right this minute and it isn't even 10:00 in the morning here in Los Angeles!

  13. What a story!!!!! It would be just the thing to listen to this in full detail while eating this beautiful soup. I guess no one will ever know the little details. If you knew the month and year, it might be possible to look up his speaking engagements and solve some of the story, but it might take quite a bit of sleuthing.

  14. what a fab look soup, great color.

  15. Neat story:) JFK..such a charmer..

    Love your cup and saucer..Bowl/ bright and cheerful!

  16. One of my all time favorite soups. Love the blog... great work !

  17. Love the story! Still haven't made anything with leeks, gotta fix that:@)

  18. It's rarely made in our home but when it's served it is a huge hit. Thanks for this story. It's great when some of the family did bits crop up.

  19. I love this soup! (Love the story too. Seventeen? Wow!)

  20. Aunt Peg sounds like a treasure. I've had some relatives very much like your Aunt Peg. Great to have around and always have a story. Storytellers are few and far between today.

    And she's right, vichyssoise started out as a hot potato and leek soup. And a great soup it is, hot or cold.

  21. I am a fan of hot with your Aunt Peg! Love her story that you told so well, Bonnie! This looks particularly tasty with that biscuit that is perched beside it!! Now, I'm off to dream of a tomato red suit and sitting next to a handsome, young JFK... ;) blessings ~ tanna

  22. Great post full of wonderful memories. I used to make Vichyssoise very often...always served hot; the way my husband loves it. Thank you for inspiring me to make it again.

  23. I always thought this soup was a lot ickier because of its name but potatoes and leeks sounds delish.

  24. I love this soup, and the story too. I find as my mom's memory fades she is losing details of their history, which I am more interested in now than ever before.

  25. What a great story! You family sounds like so much fun, Bonnie. I must say I prefer my potato soup hot too :) This sounds delicious!

  26. Love the stories and your memories~a great meal for a chilly eve!

  27. OOOOO! With the wind howling, this sounds sooo good. I'm going to town tomorrow, and I just might get the ingredients to make it! I need something to thaw out my spoiled toes after all the sand and sun of Hawaii! Great story too!

  28. Your aunt sounds like a real charmer and I loved the story. I don't much care for cold soups either, but a piping hot potato soup is another story. This sounds wonderful. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  29. What a wonderful story! Seventeen siblings?!! Both my parents came from large families; mother oldest of 12, father middle of 11. Family reunions were such fun. Yummy! Your soup looks wonderful. We lived in Mt Airy, NC at the time of my story, near the Blue Ridge.

  30. Mmmmmmm, loved the soup sweetie.

    It was a hit!

    God bless ya! :o)


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