Comfort Food

Published March 30, 2021 by J Hill

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. — Proverbs 3: 5-8

I can't really separate the notion of healing from that of nourishment. Regardless of how I need to be healed—spiritually, physically, emotionally—some form of nourishment is the bridge that gets me there. As much as I love to cook (I wouldn't claim to be a great one) the truth is, what I love about cooking is that I can do it for myself and for someone else. What's even better is that cooking has become something my daughter and I do together (sometimes virtually). Below you will find a recipe. It's a simple one for potato soup. It's one that Isabella adapted and handed down to me. I adapted it and am now handing down again.

And with that, nourishment delivers healing, and as healing comes so does Hope.

Let's get right to it with the good stuff:

  • 6 strips bacon (I cut it up with scissors)
  • Shredded cheddar cheese, plus a bunch more shredded cheddar cheese to serve on top
  • Butter 2-4 tablespoons (I use 2 plus 1 tablespoon of bacon drippings)
  • 1 stalk celery — This is the ultimate "I don't love the texture but the flavor is amazing vegetable" so I mince it as fine as possible so that it essentially melts into the soup; I do the same with the onion
  • 1 small onion — I like yellow but you could use white; dice as fine as possible
  • Potatoes — I like a mixture of small golden and red; depending on size you'll probably need in the range of a dozen
  • Flour — I use a gluten-free pancake mix but otherwise about a 1/4 cup or less of all-purpose flour
  • Broth — I use vegetable (actually my favorite thing to do is take leftover roasted vegetables put them in a blender with salt, pepper, and water); you'll probably need 4-6 cups
  • Milk — I use +/- 2 cups of oat milk; most of you will want whole milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste


In a hot pan, brown the bacon. If you want to use some of the fat, reserve a tablespoon or two.

Into a low temperature pan add the butter, the celery, onion, salt, and pepper. (If you want to kick this up a notch, you could also throw in a diced jalapeño.) I let this cook as low as I can until the onion and celery are past soft and starting to melt.

If you're using flour (or gluten-free pancake mix), add it here until it's not clumpy and sort of dissolved in. (I have gotten away not using it with more cheese and a longer simmer of the potatoes.)

Now add the broth and simmer. I love me some simmering so you can let it go a while—but at least five minutes.

Now throw in the potatoes and about 3/4 of the bacon. Simmer on a medium-low heat, stirring often. (If you skipped the flour, then add a tad more broth and simmer lower and longer, stirring frequently.) Do this until the potatoes start to break down.

Add the milk (or oat milk) and a bunch of shredded cheddar cheese. Turn the heat to low and continue cooking until the soup is as smooth and creamy as you like. I like it chunky, but you'll figure how you like it.

Spoon some in a bowl, add some extra cheese and some extra bacon and take a moment to savor that we are healing.


J Hill, his wife Hillevi, and their daughter Isabella are long time South Mainers. J and Hillevi are artists; J is on the faculty at the MFAH studio school and he serves as South Main's Missions Coordinator.