Glenda Norris is a member of Hagerstown Chapter of the Embroiderers Guild of America, a group of needleworkers who meet monthly in the Hagerstown area.
Norris is also a home cook of long standing. She learned from her mother, who called herself a "plain country cook," Norris said.
When Norris was a child, her parents raised chickens, hogs and a steer, and they grew a lot of vegetables.
"My dad was the consummate gardener, often double-cropping his large garden," she said. "My mom regularly canned 350 to 450 quarts of vegetables and fruits each year, with the help of my dad, sister and me. Mom even made her own vegetable soup mix and canned it, fresh from the garden."
Nowadays, Norris plants her own garden — smaller than her dad's — and she still makes vegetable soup.
"Growing up, vegetable soup was a cool-weather staple for us. Mom made a big pot of this every two to three weeks, which would give us several suppers," she said. "Today, I make vegetable soup for my niece's and nephew's families and for some friends. I usually make 14 to 17 quarts, most of which I give away. However, my two Boston terriers and I like the soup, too, so I keep 3 or 4 quarts for us to enjoy."
— Chris Copley, Lifestyle Assistant Editor
2 pounds frozen mixed vegetables (see cook's note)
1 small, sweet onion, chopped fine (1/2 cup)
2 large or 4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 to 4 ribs celery, chopped fine (1 to 1/2 cups)
1/2 to 3/4 pound cabbage, chopped medium-fine (2 to 3 cups)
15 ounce can pinto beans
15 ounce can whole tomatoes, chopped to medium-small pieces
1 to 1 1/2 quarts tomato juice
2 to 3 tablespoons sugar (see cook's note)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 to 1 1/2 pounds ground beef or turkey (see cook's note)
In a 6- to 8-quart pan, bring a quart of water to boil and add the mixed vegetables, onion and potatoes. Add additional water if needed to barely cover vegetables. Cook on medium heat until tender.
In a separate, smaller pot, cook celery and cabbage in just enough water to cover. When soft, add smaller pot with water to large pot of vegetables.
Add pinto beans, tomatoes, tomato juice, sugar, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer.
In another pan, boil 2 cups of water, and add ground meat in small amounts. Stir and break meat into smaller bits as it cooks. Cook over medium heat until fully cooked. Add meat to vegetables, taste and adjust seasoning, and let simmer at least a half hour for flavors to meld. Serve.
If storing, cool soup before placing leftovers in containers. Leave lids ajar when placing in refrigerator. Close lids completely after soup is cold.
Makes about 5 1/2 quarts.
Cook's note: Glenda Norris uses a frozen vegetable mix of corn, peas, green beans, carrots and lima beans. She strongly recommends including lima beans in the soup. Norris recommends 90/10 or 85/15 ground beef. Norris recommends sugar to help — cut the acid — of the tomatoes and tomato juice.
— Courtesy of Glenda Norris of Keedysville, a member of the Hagerstown Chapter of the Embroiderers Guild of America. For more information about the guild, call Sally Poole at 301-797-0355.