For me it’s difficult in both the emotional and creative contexts to describe the origins of sausage soup in my family.  It’s emblematic of the both the pains and the joys of our history.

It seems particularly appropriate to ponder this matter on the anniversary of my mother’s birthday, October 31.  Born in 1919, Jeanne Mae Parks Thrall Croxton (she didn’t use all those names at once) would have been ninety-two today.  Mom died in 2008, just short of her 89th birthday, but her strength, determination, and warmth are still very much alive in the hearts of her five children and her many grandchildren.

Sausage soup originated during our childhood when resources were scarce in a family of five children headed by a single mother working as a secretary.  It began as a way to make tasty dishes from meager ingredients.  Its basic ingredients have remained the same over the years and generations, but their quality and quantity have been improved and refined with practice and improved circumstances.  It is now firmly entrenched in family traditions.  It is a staple of my family’s Christmas Eve celebrations.  I’ve never seen it duplicated anywhere else, so cherish its uniqueness.  We’ve shared the recipe with friends over the years, but I like to think that those who make it think of our family while they’re enjoying its comfort and yumminess.

So, I guess you could say that sausage soup is a metaphor for creating something wonderful out of whatever you have.  Take the yummy stuff, the happy stuff, the painful stuff, blend them together with imagination, tweak them, improve them, add to them.  Then share.  Et voila! SausageSoup.

So here it is, family and special friends.  Read, create, add, share!

P. S. Happy Birthday, Mom!!  I love you every day of my life.

Jeanne Silliman
October 31, 2011