Soup from Leftovers and Garbage Soup are usually really delicious. Out of the thousands of meals Annette has prepared over the years, fewer than five have gone uneaten. This is the story of an infamous one that has become a family legend.
The Concept of Soup from Leftovers / Garbage Soup
That’s right, Garbage Soup. Doesn’t sound appetizing, but in reality, it can be.
Several years ago, Annette read about the concept of saving small portions of leftovers to make soup and decided to incorporate the practice into her money-saving habits. Whenever she had less than one serving of green beans, corn, mixed veggies, beets or any other vegetable, she’d pour them into a one-gallon glass jar – kept in the freezer – and save it for making soup.
How to Make Garbage Soup
She’d save things like gravy, small pieces of meat, and single servings of rice or beans were also added. When the jar was full, she would allow it to thaw, pour it into an 8-quart pot, add a few fresh ingredients to balance out the “recipe” and cook.
A Funny Story About the “Recipe”
The Garbage Soup concept isn’t as bad as it sounds; as a matter of fact, the soup has received rave reviews. Not only did our kids love it, but a family with whom we shared a meal of Garbage Soup when their mom was sick raved about it.
Later the mother of the family said to Annette, “We really enjoyed the soup, it was delicious. Could I have the recipe?”
“The recipe?” Annette stammered.
“Well, it’s an old family recipe,” she muttered, adding under her breath, “about 2 months old.”
So with the family enthusiastic and friends raving about the flavor, Garbage Soup made its way into our lives on a regular basis.
The Day Soup from Leftovers / Garbage Soup Failed
That was until the fateful day when Annette tried something new.
The glass jar in the freezer was full. It was a cold winter day – perfect for a large pot of soup to be simmering on the stove, filling the house with a delicious aroma.
Making the Soup
She defrosted the “ingredients” and started adding carrots, beans and whatever met her fancy at the moment – you know how great chefs are, they feel the recipe and know when it’s “just right.”
Adding the Fateful Ingredient
As she pulled ingredients out of the fridge, she discovered about two servings of tapioca pudding in a small plastic container.
It smelled OK. She paused, considered the texture and the flavor possibilities and decided that a little sweetness in the soup wouldn’t hurt. Well . . . .
The Family Tries the New Soup from Leftovers Recipe
The table was set, the family was seated and the soup was served. We all lifted spoons in eager anticipation. Garbage Soup is always an adventure. We blew on our spoonfuls of soup with small wispy sounds in preparation to partake.
Then the first taste . . . and . . . um . . . well
There were no gags, no exclamations, just puzzled looks as we all tried to comprehend the odd sweet and salty, chewy and bouncy experience we were having.
Another taste confirmed that something was amiss. John, our eldest, was the first to exclaim, “Mom! What did you put in this soup?”
There was a moment of stunned silence as Annette’s mind raced back six hours and flipped through a mental list of ingredients. She said, “Carrots, green beans, a whole jar of Garbage Soup fixings and, oh, that’s right . . . remember that tapioca pudding we had last week? I threw that in, too!
That ended the meal.
Fortunately, she had also baked some excellent cheese muffins (get the recipe here), which were promptly devoured.
We tried to do something useful with the tapioca soup. We gave each of our dogs – 70-pound German shepherds – a serving mixed with their regular food.
Well, you know something is really bad when even the dogs won’t touch it.
Have you ever had a Frugal Fail?
To the Dogs!
I just read your Tapioca Soup article. We have three children and a long time ago, we qualified for a program called Woman Infants and Children (WIC). On this program, we received vouchers for milk, cheese, cereal, peanut butter and dry peas. We weren’t fond of dried peas, but not wanting to waste, we tried different varieties. So I made a huge pot of lentil soup! We had never tried a lentil before -— didn’t even know what a lentil really was. But they looked good, felt smooth and even smelled yummy while the soup was simmering.
My dad was visiting that day, and having grown up during the depression, he ate “most” everything. While the soup wasn’t exactly bad tasting, it was rather “rich,” with lentils. My dad didn’t finish what he was served, complaining that he ate a big lunch before coming. My husband and I choked it down, but we certainly weren’t interested in the next 52 meals worth that we had left.
So, we figured that it would be a good treat for the dogs. Now you know something is too much when even the retrievers won’t eat it! Lisa from Wisconsin
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