Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

January 14, 2014

Soups perfect ‘comfort food’

Enjoy a bowl of warmth for National Soup Month

TAHLEQUAH — When Mother Nature doles out the cold weather, sometimes the best revenge is a steaming bowl of homemade soup or stew.

It’s little wonder, then, that January is National Soup Month. From thick, creamy, calorie-laden soups known as bisques or chowders, to water-based and healthier broths or consommés, to vegetable-laden chilies and stews, almost every country around the world has its own special recipe.

According to foodtimeline.org, food historians believe soups are probably as old as the history of cooking. The act of combining various ingredients that work well together  - flavor profiles - in a large pot to create nutritious and filling food was inevitable.

Soups are easily digested, and are often prescribed for invalids and have been since ancient times. The modern restaurant industry is said to be based on soup. Restoratifs, from which the word “restaurant” comes, were the first items served in public restaurants in 18th century Paris. Classic French cuisine generated many of the soups known today.

Deana Franke, owner of Oasis Health Foods, is a soup maker, and her favorite is her German grandmother’s chicken soup.

“It has chicken, preferably leftover bones with a little meat on them, celery, bay leaves, onions, pickling spices, tomatoes, salt and pepper,” said Franke. “Boil the ingredients for hours, at least six, strain and use the broth for noodles or rice, and top with cinnamon. It makes you feel better if you’re not feeling up to par and tastes wonderful.

Local resident Cherokee Lowe has been on a soup-making binge lately.

“My two rules for soup are to use chicken stock, and it can contain bacon and heavy cream, it will,” said Lowe. “My favorite is a five-ingredient corn chowder that we simply call ‘the soup.’”

“[For beef stew], I put whatever I decide sounds good in for vegetables, which usually includes corn, green beans, carrots, celery, onions, potatoes, and sometimes peas,” said Cott. “I used to put lima beans in, but [my husband] Dan hates them, so not anymore.”

To add depth to her stew, Cott also makes her own stock.

“I make beef broth and add various herbs and spices, again whatever sounds good, but always basil, oregano, and garlic,” she said. “[To finish out the stew,] I put in a can of tomato sauce and salt and pepper it to taste.”

Cott traditionally employed an electric slow-cooker for stews, but recently received a cast-iron Dutch oven, which she’s been using lately.

“It is different than when it’s slow-cooked,” said Cott. My former-bachelor husband said, ‘It’s even better than Dinty Moore,’ the first time I made it. It only took 10 stitches to close his head wound.”

Beef stew is Cott’s go-to meal in a pot, for a variety of reasons.

“Mostly, though, it gives you a comfortable, home-warm-and-safe, we’re-lucky feeling when you smell it cooking,” said Cott.

When it comes to one-dish meals, local educator Jim Bynum prefers food from the bayou.

“I love gumbo,” said Bynum. “Gumbo with shrimp, chicken, or andouille or all of the above. The rue is the secret to a good gumbo, along with okra used as a thickener. The complexity of flavors, as well as the deep spice of the cayenne pepper, combined with all the veggies and meats are to die for.”

Local resident Patti Gulager, a nurse, likes to have soup all year-round.

“[We’ll have] cold soup in the summer and hot soup in the winter,” said Gulager. “My favorite is the barley soup recipe on the back of the Quaker quick barley box. This is so heart-healthy and you can season with your favorite Mrs. Dash or just salt and pepper. It’s easy, and you can do chicken instead of the really lean ground beef. Families in the north central part of the country eat a lot of barley. Not so much here, I think.”

Franke said gumbo is her family’s favorite, and they routinely enjoy soups and stews.

“I also make a yummy butternut squash curry soup,” said Franke. “I make gumbo gluten-free, along with vegetable beef soup. We eat almost every kind of bean soup regularly. Soup warms your body and feels like home.”

LaRhonda McBrayer said her family’s favorite soup is potato, but it might better be named cheese soup with some potatoes in it.

“We like to put a lot of cheese in it,” said McBrayer. “I use Knorr’s leek soup mix as a base, onion, chicken boullion, milk, salt, pepper, garlic, clery or celery salt, and any cheese you care to use.”

McBrayer said her husband, Boyd, like to put Louisiana Hot Sauce in his soupl.

“I like to put a bit of American or Velveeta in mine for creaminess,” said McBrayer. “We like the potatoes chunky, not shredded. We love its texture, and it’s so creamy and just makes you feel homey inside.”


Text Only
Local News
  • jn cvbc fire.jpg Church catches fire after burglaries

    Authorities are looking for the person accused of breaking into the Crescent Valley Baptist Church two times this week and likely causing a fire that damaged the youth building early Wednesday morning.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • svw Humane photo.tif More volunteers needed to house strays, help with spay-and-neuter

    Furry friends may seem like the perfect addition to round out a family.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Marijuana, seeds lead to four arrests

    Four people were arrested on marijuana related charges early Wednesday morning after a traffic stop on South Muskogee Avenue.

    July 24, 2014

  • Sex offender found living in tent at river

    Cherokee County sheriff’s investigators arrested a convicted sex offender this week when they discovered he has been living in a tent along the river.

    July 24, 2014

  • ts-NSU-MAIN.jpg Fledgling RiverHawks arrive

    Over 200 incoming freshmen took part in orientation class at Northeastern State University

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • svw-TCP-jump.jpg Tahlequah Community Playhouse revving up for new season

    Tahlequah Community Playhouse is kicking of its 41st season with a nod to friendship and aging.
    TCP finished auditions for its first play of the season, “The Dixie Swim Club,” on Tuesday.

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Infant mortality dropping in county

    When a mom-to-be is expecting a healthy, happy baby, every week of pregnancy is crucial.
    Short gestation, or premature births, is a leading cause of infant mortality. Any child born before reaching 37 weeks of gestation is considered premature.

    July 23, 2014

  • Board considers combining tourism, chamber positions

    Members of the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and the local Tourism Council are discussing the possibility of combining two jobs into one.
    Chamber President Steve Turner encouraged board members Tuesday morning to be prepared next month to decide how it will begin a search for a new executive director.

    July 23, 2014

  • New chamber board members nominated

    Three new board members will likely be installed during the regular August meeting of the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce.

    July 23, 2014

  • ts-camp-cherokee-main.jpg Camp Cherokee

    About 500 area youth attending popular camp for tribal citizens.

    In reality, two camps are taking place at the Camp Heart ‘o the Hills: a day camp for children in first through sixth grades, and a residential camp for those in middle and high school.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos


Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands