I got this recipe from an old family friend, who gave me my first batch of leeks, too! This soup quickly became our family favorite. I enjoy making hearty dishes like this one—and I especially like cooking with pork when I can...my husband and I raise hogs.
Even though I'm single, I make multiple servings of everything. Actually, this tendency has helped me to get to know my neighbors. A few of them always volunteer to be my guinea pigs whenever I try out a new recipe or two. —Cheryl Trowbridge, Windsor, Ontario
Meet the Cook: Soup is tops on the list of things I love to cook. I've used this one as the beginning course to a meal...and as a Sunday supper with hot rolls and butter. When we had a small restaurant in Arizona, I made my mushroom soup every day. We never had any left over. It got raves at a deli I worked at, too. I never cooked very much until my husband and I were married, 48 years ago. We're the parents of three grown sons and the grandparents of 12.
-Beverly Rafferty, Winston, Oregon
Meet the Cook: My husband and I lived for 11 years in the Arctic, where there was very little fresh produce and I had to order non-perishable groceries for a year ahead of time. This hearty soup - a meal in itself served with warm rolls - became a staple in our diet because it requires ingredients I could easily find.
-Lil Morris, Emerald Park, Saskatchewan
Meet the Cook: This recipe's one I had to learn to marry into my husband's family! It is the traditional Hinz Christmas Eve meal, served before going to church. My father was a pastor who was always too keyed up from preaching to enjoy a big Sunday dinner. So I learned to make soup early on. Now, my husband is pastor to two rural churches. Our three children are 17, 15 and 13.
-Rachel Hinz, St. James, Minnesota
Meet the Cook: Soups are one of my favorite things to prepare - they're so easy, and nothing is better on a chilly evening with some homemade bread or biscuits. I am only 26 and married for just a year, so I don't consider myself an "experienced" cook. But I do love to try new recipes with a country flair.
-Anita Warner, Mt. Crawford, Virginia
Meet the Cook: When my husband and I eat out and enjoy a dish, I go home and try to duplicate it. That's how I came up with this recipe. While it's good at any time, we like it full and hearty over the winter. Our three children are grown. Now, we keep busy watching their children - our six grandchildren - grow.
-Donna Mae Young, Menomonie, Wisconsin
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: For years, I worked at making a chicken soup that tasted just like my mother's. When I realized I couldn't, I decided to come up with my own recipe. It was an immediate hit! People enjoy the vegetables, noodles and rosemary.
—Cheryl Rogers, Ames, Iowa
Meet the Cook: There were 11 children in my family when I was growing up, and my husband and I have seven grown children (and now eight grandchildren). Need less to say, I have been cooking ever since I could handle a spoon. People love this soup's flavor and creamy cheese consistency. I've given the recipe to friends, who've varied it a little. One substituted summer squash and zucchini for the rutabaga. She said it tasted just great that way, too.
-Helen Riesterer, Kiel, Wisconsin