I enjoyed a cool berry soup at a restaurant several years ago. The manager gave me some of the ingredients and none of the amounts, so I tinkered with what I had to get this refreshing rendition.
—Phyllis Hammes of Rochester, Minnesota
Meet the Cook: Especially to guests who enjoy the variety of Chinese cooking, this is a treat. I like serving it with fried noodles or rice as a side dish. I am a widow with two daughters, both grown, and a grandson. Music is a favorite pastime. I've been the founder and director of a seniors band called "The Happy Has Beens", and I perform for clubs, church groups and seniors as the "Hat Lady", singing about my travels through our state.
-Louise Johnson, Harriman, Tennessee
Meet the Cook: I started making my chili back when we lived near a huge farmers' market that sold all sorts of vegetables. Be as creative as you like with ingredients.
My husband loves chili, and this is a nice change from the traditional type. I've always enjoyed cooking - I grew up in a family with five girls. These days, I can count on our own youngsters (they're 4 and 2) to help me out!
-Judy Sloter, Charles City, Iowa
To us, asparagus is the taste of spring, so we enjoy it in as many meals as we can. When this thick and creamy chowder is on the table, we know spring has arrived. —Elisabeth Harders, West Allis, Wisconsin
I remember eating this soup every Christmas while growing up. I considered it a real treat. My mother, who was born in Sweden, made this soup during holidays, and now I carry on the family tradition. I look forward to all of our Swedish Christmas traditions-especially eating this soup. —Enice Jacobson, Wildrose, North Dakota
We have a small asparagus patch, and my husband and I wait eagerly for this tasty vegetable to appear every spring. We're pleased to use our precious harvest in this soup. Lemon and nutmeg give it a surprising spark.
—Darlene Swille, Green Bay, Wisconsin
Meet the Cook: A favorite at soup night at our church, this recipe's one my husband concocted after he retired. (We have four children plus two grandchildren and another on the way.) I frequently find it on the table when I get home from work.
-Rosalie Biar, Thorndale, Texas
I remember my mom making this soup; now I make it as often as I can. It's a good way to use up leftover vegetables. Sometimes I add a can of rinsed and drained kidney or garbanzo beans. —Angela Goodman, Kaneohe, Hawaii