Fighting The Cold

I’ve been so cold lately; I can’t warm up. My feet feel like rocks—hard, heavy, and rough.

We have an open-air house; there are lots of open spaces where the air can get in. And the air doesn’t just quietly sneak in; it blasts in. The other day Sweetsie told me that it was snowing in the house. I said, “It is not,” and went about my business, but she kept saying the snow was coming in the house, so I finally went over to the closed kitchen door where she was standing and sure enough, the snow was blowing in through the crack in the door. (When Mr. Handsome got home, he pointed out that you have to close the door all the way if you don’t want the snow to blow in. Duh, honey. I thought it was shut.)

We also have holes in our floors. These holes are big enough for us to have “lost” numerous toothbrushes (the monsters in our basement have plaque-free fangs). We also have big cracks in between the floor boards and under the front door. Furthermore, the kids have a bad habit of opening the windows (they like to climb in and out—more fun than the door, I guess) and then neglecting to shut them. To make matters worse, we live on the side of a valley (not to be confused with living on the side of a mountain) and we get tremendous winds that pound the house, rattling the tin roof (sounds like an earthquake—I was in a small one in Guatemala and it scared me senseless), and knocking the porch rockers over backwards.

All this means that even though we try to keep the main part of the house at 70 degrees, the floors remain icy cold and my feet get chilled despite my lusciously L.L. Bean slippered feet, and everyone knows you can’t really warm up if you have cold feet.

As a result of all this coldness, all I want to do, all day long, is sit around by the fire. (I’m in front of the fire right now. I fell asleep by the fire last night. I did my SSR by the fire this morning. The fire is a good place to be.)

And it means that a bowl of hot soup holds great charm.

I made a good soup the other night. Actually, it wasn’t that great the first time around because I was off on my calculations, but the next day I corrected them and then the soup was fine. It’s a classic recipe, so you’ve probably already heard of it: Julia Child’s Potato-Leek Soup.

I first heard of it when I read Julie and Julia a couple years ago. The author of the book (hear, hear, Oh Blogger Brethren—her book started as a lowly blog!) talked about this soup, imparting only the sparsest of directions, so I made it and it was simple and every bit as good as she promised it would be.

I don’t normally buy leeks, but now, with this dearth of potatoes cluttering up my basement, I decided to make the soup again. It certainly couldn’t be any more simple to make: potatoes and leeks simmered in water, roughly mashed, and seasoned with salt, black pepper, butter, and cream.

A pleasant bonus: the kids liked it. The Baby Nickel scoured his bowl with his tongue.

Potato-Leek Soup
Adapted from Julie and Julia, by Julie Powell

These amounts are only guesstimates. You are aiming for a semi-thick creamy soup of pure coziness.

If you include the green part of the leeks, the soup will take on a greenish tint, but if you use just the white part of the leeks, the soup will have a cleaner potato-look It’s up to you; I put in the greens.

Of course you can garnish the soup with chives or parsley or rosemary or cheese or bacon or boiled eggs, etc, but this bare-bones soup needs not a single enhancement. It does not, in any way, disappoint.

6 cups potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
4 cups leeks, well-rinsed and roughly chopped
salt and pepper to taste
2-4 tablespoons butter
½-1 cup cream

Put the potatoes and leeks in a soup pot and add just enough water to cover. Simmer till the veggies are tender. Roughly puree the soup with an immersion blender, or with a hand-held potato masher. I like it to be just slightly chunky. Add salt and pepper, the cream and butter, and heat through (do not boil). Eat.


  • Anonymous

    Have you tried thick wool socks with your wicked good slippers? That’s what finally cured my cold feet in our tight house kept at 60 degrees.

    Oh, and I concur with 40winkzzz. (Plus, it’s fun to read someone who uses as many parentheses as I do.)


  • Jennifer Jo


    Thanks for the affirmation—I very much DID need to hear that right now.

    The soup may be just fine with no cream and just the butter because the potatoes make it so creamy anyway. That Cheez is allergic to dairy is ironic, but I’m learning that’s the purpose of children (at least in my case: Did you know I used to scoff at the ADD diagnosis?!)—to teach us the ironies.

    Just a side note: I’m having trouble accessing your blog—is the site down?


  • 40winkzzz

    That was fun to read. I like the way you write. I mean, I suppose that’s obvious since I read your blog, but I thought I’d tell you anyway. We all need a little affirmation now and again, right?

    I think I’ll try this recipe. I have another I use for potato soup, but it never hurts to try something different. I will have to use rice milk or water instead of the cream, though, which will obviously make a difference. (My 18-y/o is allergic to dairy, except for butter. Not lactose intolerant; it’s a casein/whey thing. Funny that her blog name is Cheez. That name was in place before we discovered the allergy.)

  • Kate

    I’m spending my days in long johns, a couple of sweaters, wool socks…wrapped in a blanket with a heating pad tucked in my lap for good measure. I like to be TOASTY!


Leave a Comment