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Learning to Enjoy Spinach
Spinach Was Not a Favorite Food of My Youth
Spinach has always had a reputation for being a great source of nutrition. It also has had a reputation for being disliked, especially by children.
Despite the best efforts of parents and the cartoon character Popeye the Sailor to convince children to eat spinach, the vegetable was near universally hated by children of my generation.
Back in the 1950s and 1960s when I was growing up the main source of spinach for most American families was the canned vegetable aisle in the grocery store.
A Tasteless Brown Green Blob on My Dinner Plate
Even Popeye the Sailor relied mainly on canned spinach. Whenever the wiry little sailor was in a tight spot and had to defend himself or his fickle girlfriend, Olive Oyl, in a fight with a much bigger and stronger character, usually his nemesis, the big thug Bluto, he would reach under his shirt, pull out a can of spinach and consume it on one gulp.
As I recall, canned spinach was a rather tasteless, brownish green blob that looked like a mixture of over boiled weeds. However, like bad tasting medicine, it was grudgingly consumed in the quest for good health (actually, my parents consumed it for good health, my siblings and I ate it because consuming it was a requirement for receiving desert at the end of the meal).
Chilled Spinach Soup - Perfect Hot Summer Entre
As and Adult I Learned to Like Spinach
Early in my adult life some friends introduced me to fresh spinach salad with hot bacon dressing. The salad consisted of fresh spinach leaves topped with a warm bacon dressing which consisted of crushed bacon in a mixture of warm bacon grease and vinegar. It was quite tasty and I liked it.
I also learned how to make a decent quiche and after some experimenting found that I could give the quiche more body and make it more of a meal by mixing in a package of frozen spinach. While the frozen spinach, having a deep green color, looked a little more appealing than the canned spinach of my youth it was still basically a somewhat tasteless blob when heated and served alone. However, when included in the quiche, it made for a healthy and tasty meal.
As a parent, I found that my children liked the spinach quiche and thus never had a problem getting them to eat their spinach when served in this manner.
My Wife Introduces Me to Cream of Spinach Soup
My new wife Bella, however, is not fond of quiche so we rarely have any type of quiche these days but we both like fresh spinach in salads.
Recently my wife, who is quite a cook, has begun making a very good cream of spinach soup using fresh spinach. This is a good tasting soup that can be served hot or chilled.
Coming home from work on a hot summer evening in Arizona, I have found that a bowel of chilled spinach soup with some crackers and a glass of ice tea make a refreshing supper.
Bowl of Cream of Spinach Soup
Making Spinach Soup
Ingredients For Cream of Spinach Soup
- 2 Lbs Fresh Spinach
- 4 Cups Broth (Chicken or Beef depending upon taste)
- 4 Tablespoons Butter or Margarine
- 2 Tablespoons Flour
- 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
- 1 Cup Cream (can substitute Half & Half, Half & Half is a blend of milk and cream
- Pinch Salt, Add salt to taste (NOTE: if you use canned broth check first to see if it contains salt
- Pinch Pepper, Freshly Ground Black Pepper is best
Cooking and Mixing Instructions
- Put the broth and spinach in a pan and simmer for about ten minutes.
- Pour the contents of the pan into a blender (or food processor) and set the blender on puree.
- Melt the butter or margarine in a large pot and then stir in the flour. Slowly stir the flour and butter/margarine mixture over low heat for several minutes.
- Pour a small amount of the pureed spinach and broth mixture into the flour and margarine/butter mixture. Once mixed, pour the remaining puree into the pan.
- Increase the heat some and continue to cook and stir until the soup starts to come to a boil. Stir in the lemon juice, cream (or Half & Half), salt and pepper.
- Remove from heat and either serve hot or pour into a sealed container and refrigerate for later use.
- This makes about 6 cups of soup which, depending upon the serving size, will serve from six to two people. Serving size will depend upon whether the soup will be served as a part of a larger dinner or used as a light meal alone
Rate Cream of Spinach Soup
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© 2010 Chuck Nugent