Depression Era Soup

Depression Era SoupFunny how conversations change to food when you least expect it. And even more so to the Great Depression and food. Julie and I were conducting some minor business when we fell into such a conversation. I was interested in her four ingredient Depression Soup realizing many of our Comfort Foods today were the economical dishes created back then. Meat was a premium and often eaten only once a week with most meals predominately vegetarian. Butter & bread were often made at home and sliced bread was a luxury. Now we think of homemade bread as luxurious. Recipes with lots of ingredients weren’t practical. Sometimes it was the cost and others it was lack of availability. If you’re a Baby Boomer you might relate. Our grandparents and parents were hit hard and their food habits were heavily influenced. If you’ve ever heard clean your plate … Or have eaten SPAM or hot dogs as a meat substitute … or have eaten Kraft Macaroni and Cheese or Mock Apple Pie with Ritz Crackers you’ve experienced a bit of that history.

As with many old recipes measurements are often missing. Sometimes it just doesn’t matter and this is just one of those times. The main ingredients are white potatoes, fresh green beans, whole milk and butter. I couldn’t help but add a little onion but you don’t need to. This soup thickens nicely without any addition of flour. Read on for the recipe. And enjoy over and over this winter.


2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 Sweet yellow onion-diced
4 Medium white potatoes-cubed, the larger you make the cube the longer the cooking time
8 Ounces green beans-ends removed and broken into bite size pieces, frozen cut green beans in a pinch
Whole milk to cover over the top of the vegetables
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a dutch oven sauté the onion in butter over medium to medium low heat.

Add green beans to the onions and continue sautéing.

Add the potatoes to the mix and continue. Yes, that little butter will work for all.

Salt and Pepper as you go. I used a teaspoon or more of salt and 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon of ground pepper. I like pepper. But taste as you go because your addition of milk may be different along with the size of your potatoes.

Pour whole milk over the top of the vegetables to just cover. Simmer but don’t boil until the potatoes are fork tender 20-30 minutes, again depends on the size of your potato cubes.

Taste again for salt and pepper need.

Depression Era SoupRich and DeliciousDepression Era Soup


  1. Julie McKinney
    Posted October 30, 2015 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Just like I remember. Thanks for sharing !

    • Posted October 30, 2015 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      Thank you Julie for this really easy uncomplicated yet absolutely delicious soup! It’s a favorite.

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