Potato Soup in a Buck’s County Bowl

July 14, by Lois Bonner, contributor. Recipe follows.

Mom served the soup in her “Buck’s County” large bowls. My brothers and I would often have contests to see who could eat the most bowls of potato soup, and I usually came out the winner. I remember eating up to a dozen bowls at most sittings! Thank goodness I never had to worry about my weight back then!

I especially remember one occasion that leaves me in tears when I think of it. One Christmas, after I married, our family was trying to plan for all of us to be together at Mom and Dads. I wanted to surprise my parents, so I told them that Joe and I could not be there. The day that Joe and I were scheduled to actually get there, Mom was asking what she should cook for dinner, and Laura told her to make potato soup (because she knew I would be arriving that night). Laura later told me that Mom started crying because that was my favorite meal and she thought I wouldn’t be there to enjoy it. Well, I still remember when we arrived at the house that night and the look on my parents’ faces when they saw us!!! And I got to have potato soup!!

The only items I ever wanted to inherit from my parents (if no one objected) was Mom’s “Buck County” dishes. Last year I received them and when I make potato soup for my own family I only use those same bowls. And every time my family comes to visit me, they will always be served “Potato Soup” in those same bowls!

Recipe for Potato Soup, copied exactly as Mom wrote it on the recipe card for Lois on March 22, 1996

Diced potatoes, onions to taste. Cover generously with cold water and as mixture is heating, mix the ingredients for the dumplings.

To each beaten egg, add ½ c. flour, ½ tsp. salt. Dough should be stiff. Add more flour as needed. Mix by hand - “knead” to make the stiff dough. Drop dough into boiling mixture (break off small amounts with fork). Cover on low heat and cook 10 minutes.

Potatoes should be done, as well as the dumplings at the end of this time.

Add whole milk, salt and pepper to taste. I also add a little cream or butter.

This recipe is identical to what my mother’s mother made with the exception of whole milk. Grandmother used fresh buttermilk when she had it.

Practice makes perfect!

Lois’ variation

I use close to a 5 lb bag of potatoes. I like to dice my onion quite small. None of my girls have ever complained of the onion. Also, for this size pot, I use at least 4 eggs for the dumplings. When the dumplings are done after the 10 minutes, I fill the remaining pot with the milk. Instead of cream, I use one stick of butter. Yummy! (Just be sure to mix the soup well before each serving.)

More Potato Soup Memories...

More Potato Soup Memories

from Paul:

Mother says this is just like the recipe her grandmother used. The only difference is, her grandmother used butter milk. Fresh butter milk, from making butter in the home. In fact, her mother Amanda told her she didn't even know what regular milk was until she left home.

Imagine, homemade potato soup made with fresh butter milk and hand-churned butter! It must have been wonderful.

I have strong memories of potato soup. I filled up on the potatoes and dumplings (which I loved), but I couldnt stand the onions. I recall having to sit at the table after everyone had left, being forced to eat cold soup. Laura once tried to mush the onions together and convince me they were potatoes. I was not fooled.

Years later, when I was selling volleyball equipment to Minnesota coaches, I drove out to Willmar high school with a colleague. I called Mom to let her know we were in town, and she invited us for lunch before we headed back to Minneapolis.

Well, the lunch was wonderful, and I will never forget it. Mom had made potato soup, and ham and cheese sandwiches on toast, setting the dining room table with her nice china. Quite a gracious meal, and what I distinctly remember was how good everything tasted, and how happy my colleague was with the impressive hospitality and a home-cooked meal.

If I ever make this soup, I will mince the onions very finely, and perhaps add some leeks and a bit of celery. Thanks, Mother, for the wonderful soup!

Happy Birthday, Susie!

July 13 – We send warm birthday wishes to our sister Susie! Have a wonderful day!, sweetie!

Cherry Cobbler

"If you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does. Now, you tell me what you know."
– Groucho Marx, Animal Crackers, 1930

Last night Mother told me about her day picking and pitting pie cherries this week. Yum! She worked for hours. She's going to make cobbler from it. Double yum! But her favorite cobbler recipe is in a book she gave away -- to me, for Christmas 2005.

So now that I have the book, I promised her I'd send her the recipe. Here it is...

from Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book, Revised and Enlarged, Fourth Edition, 1956:

"Cobble up" means to put together in a hurry. For the fruit, use cherries, peaches, apricots, or blackberries, etc.

Follow recipe below - except, in place of canned fruit or berries, use 3 cups fresh fruit with any juice there might be, mixed with 2/3 to 1 cup sugar, 1 tbsp. cornstarch, and 1 cup water.

Mix in saucepan...
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
Stir in gradually...
  • 2 1/2 cups canned fruit or berries and juice (no. 2 can)
Bring to boil and boil 1 min., stirring constantly. Pour into 1 1/2-qt. baking dish and dot with butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Sift together...
  • 1 cup sifted GOLD MEDAL Flour
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
Cut in with pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture looks like "meal"...
3 tbsp. shortening
Stir in...
  • 1/2 cup milk
Drop by spoonfuls onto hot fruit or berries. Bake until golden brown. Serve warm with juice and cream.

TEMPERATURE: 400° (mod. hot oven).
TIME: Bake 25 to 30 min.
AMOUNT: 6 to 8 servings

Shirley's Gingerbread Cookies: A Classic Recipe

A Family Favorite for Four Generations

This often-requested recipe was passed to me by my mother, from her mother Amanda. Three tips, if I may (you'll thank me): Lard is the secret to the success of these soft, thick marvels, so do not substitute. Use the best fresh spices you can find. Don't bother to frost or decorate; these make wonderful eating on their own. Bake them weekly and your home will infused with their scent during the entire holidays. -- visit me at www.paulklenk.us

How could we possibly have felt deprived, with such good food in the house, and in such abundance? This was doubly true at Christmastime.

Each December, Mom baked upwards of, perhaps, twenty different cookies and other treats, in batches large enough to feed our family of nine, with plenty to share and ship to loved ones. Sugar cookies, Russian tea cakes, caramels (highly coveted), peanut brittle, pizzelles, yulekake, krumkake, spritz, rosettes, kranzekake, lefse, Anice candy, Italian fig cookies... and something rolled in coconut. She stored them in boxes, tins and Tupperware tubs lined with wax paper, and stacked them in our drafty front hall closet (conveniently chilly during Minnesota winters).

And just out of view of her kitchen. My brother Steve and I, as well as our friend Dennis, were in and out of that closet several times a day (not that she didn't notice). The cookie we were most likely to snatch in fistful after fistful, our mid-afternoon meal, was...

1 cup ea. of

  • sugar
  • lard (do not substitute)
  • dark molasses

2 eggs

5 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. cloves
3 tsp. ginger


  1. Cream the lard, eggs and molasses well.
  2. Blend in the sugar.
  3. Blend the remaining dry ingredients separately, then thoroughly mix into the dough by hand.
  4. If time allows, chill the dough.
  5. Roll it out thickly with a cloth-covered, flour-dusted rolling pin, on a large board lightly dusted with flour.
  6. Cut with a cookie cutter, or, for extra large batches, into squares to save time.
  7. Place on cookie sheets lightly greased with lard.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees F for 8 to 10 mins. until golden brown and bready, not dark or crispy.
  9. Remove and let cool briefly on the sheets; then place on cooling racks until room temperature.
  10. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container, in a cool place.