Way, way back in time there was a young couple just starting out. They dropped by to see the husband’s Great-Grandpa John, who, as usual was extremely happy to have visitors. After a wonderful visit, where GG John shared his hobby of going to funerals, any funeral; he wanted to share his bounty with the young couple.
He brought out a box of foodstuffs to help the young couple build their pantry. Government issued surplus foods, non perishables. They young couple were reticent to take the food. GG John assured them, “They give out the same amount to everyone. I’m an old man without much of an appetite. Please let me share this with you.”
So they did.
Wow! That box contained 1 lb butter, 5lbs of process American cheese, 5lbs of flour, 5 lbs of sugar, a large can of peanut butter, another can of bologna, a bag of lentils, and I can’t remember the rest! For the next six months GG John continued to present us with a box, once a month. That is until he had to be moved to the rest home.
And folks that was a portion of what the Surplus Foods Program handed out to individuals and families who qualified for help. We know it now as the Food Stamp Program or here in Oregon as the Oregon Trail Card. OTC looks like a credit card and is less obtrusive than Food Stamps. At least now lower income people have the choice of fresh fruit and veggies; along with fresh meat.
From that first box I made a delicious Lentil Soup. Scott didn’t like the texture of the lentils at all. But he did like the split peas that showed up in a later box. I liked the lentils and the split peas, so I came up with the compromise: 1/3 lentil and 2/3 split peas. It was a hit. I just buy two bags of split peas and one of lentils. I mix them together in a Tupperware storage container, cover and store.
It was my friend Kathi who inspired my further additions to the split pea soup. She served Campbell’s’ Chunky Spilt Pea Soup on a camping trip. I enjoyed the addition of the chunks of carrot and potato. That’s how they ended up in the final version.
Split Pea Soup
1 quart ham stock
2 cups split pea/lentil mix
1 cup chopped ham
½ onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
3 carrots, diced
3 potatoes, diced
½ tsp pepper
In a soup pot or large dutch oven
Bring the ham broth to a boil.
Add all the ingredients and simmer for at least one hour.
If you don’t have ham or ham broth or you want a vegetarian version; just sub a flavorful vegetable broth. I have poured in a can of peas when I don’t have ham broth. It really increases the pea flavor and is a crowd pleaser!
I serve this with cornbread. It freezes well for Scott’s lunches.