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We tend to think of vintage cooking as a long, tedious process, requiring hours of time and careful tending to create the perfect dish. But I bet that there were times, particularly for farm wives, in which a long day in the field left little for dinner preparation. Those ladies could sympathize with the modern mom, who rushes in from work or from running kids to various activities, and has limited time to get dinner on the table.

I found a beautiful soup recipe that is perfect for such occasions. It took me literally 20 minutes to get this soup on the table-and it was so good that my family was asking for seconds.

The recipe comes from a cute cookbook my husband got me for Christmas. The Williamsburg Art of Cookery was originally published under the name Book on the Art of Cookery, the Compleat Housewife or Accomplished Gentlewoman’s Companion. The editors, Helen Bullock and William Parks, confessed to readers in the preface that they’d collected the recipes from common cookbooks used in Virginia households-some of which were printed in America and some in England. The recipes that were tested in the kitchens of the towns’ three public houses- Market Square Tavern, The Travis House and Blair House- are marked with special stars. (This recipe, by the way, was starred).

Notice how all the S's are written like modern "f's.  The whole cookbook is like that. It takes some getting used to.

Notice how all the S’s are written like modern “f’s. The whole cookbook is like that. It takes some getting used to.

The preface ends with this interesting quote from Helen: “Heaven sends good meat but the devil sends cooks.” Ooooo-kay.

What I do know is that this recipe, which I have modernized a bit, was on the table in 20 minutes flat. I pulled homemade stock from the freezer to speed up the process and used canned chicken. It serves six.

• 6 cups chicken stock (here’s an easy recipe)
• One 12.5 ounce can of cooked chicken
• One cup cooked brown rice
• Two eggs, beaten
• 2 tablespoons parsley
• Salt and pepper to taste

Heat your stock to bowling in a medium-sized soup pan.
Add the salt and pepper and correct to taste.
Add the chicken and rice and stir. Bring to just under a boil. Then, reduce the heat to low or medium low.

We're nearly done already!

We’re nearly done already!

Once the soup stops bubbling intensely, add the beaten eggs slowly, stirring all the while. You have to make sure the soup isn’t too hot or the eggs will cook. Keep stirring for about three minutes.

Take soup off the heat, add the parsley and serve!