Mutti's downday soup
A meal in a bowl to nourish body and soul
My mother started making this soup shortly after she got married and it came from a family friend who lived around the corner. On Fridays he had an open house policy and neighbourhood children were welcome to join for a singalong around the bonfire, on condition they each brought a cheese sandwich. After a few songs he would bring out his collection of jaffle irons and the children would toast their sandwiches. Walking through his kitchen in wintertime, a sandwich in her pocket, my mother remembers the smell of this soup cooking on the stove – and it turns out the recipe came from his mother.
She has made it her own in so many ways and now it’s really more of a timeline than a recipe. It starts when a bunch of soup celery catches your eye, perhaps because it is such a deep green or the leaves look so fresh. Maybe the weather turns, or you think: ah, it’s Downday-soup season. And then you set aside three hours on a Saturday afternoon, to potter as it simmers but remaining present throughout to salt, taste, and salt to taste. It relies on having a six-litre pot to use as the guide for quantities, and making sure there will be someone around in the final hour to share the marrow bones with you.