George cooking up a pot of Michael's potato soup!

George cooking up a pot of Michael's potato soup!

When I was a college student at The Ohio State University, I lived in the Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity house. My fellow frat brothers were a bunch of really good guys.  And the years spent in that house were some of the best of all my college days.  I made a lot of good and fast friends in that house. And I learned that Ohio is pretty darn big.  My fellow frat brothers came from all geographic corners of the buckeye state.

Guys came from cities that we all know.  Columbus, Toledo, Cincinnati, and Cleveland.  But they also came from towns I never heard of before.  Shadyside, Ironton, Van Wert, and Urbana (to name a few).

Urbana, Ohio.  For sure, while growing up in Cleveland, Urbana was a town I never even knew existed.

And, for some reason, Phi Kappa Tau attracted a lot of guys from Urbana.  Looking back, the frat house easily had a dozen or so members from this wonderful farming community just an hour or so northwest of Columbus.

Dave Warye, Mike Woodruff, Kym Moore, Steve Diebert, Gary Burris, the Michael Brothers (Scott, Todd and Kurt), and a whole lot of other guys all came from Urbana!

And through their friendship, I gained a whole new respect for farmers and farming.  And also came away with a great potato soup recipe!

You see, the Michael brothers have one of the largest potato farms in Ohio.  Now, I love potatoes and always have.  So, it was pretty cool having fraternity brothers who grew my favorite vegetable!  Their mom, many years ago, passed along a potato soup recipe that I handed to my mother.  Mom whipped up pot after pot of that soup. And with each bowl, it brought back memories of Ohio State, Phi Kappa Tau and Urbana.

Because of the Internet, Facebook, and email, I’ve been able to once again get in touch with all my Phi Tau brothers.

Todd, Kurt, Scott, and Jody of Michael Farms

Todd, Kurt, Scott, and Jody of Michael Farms

And, it’s wonderful to know that Scott, Todd and Kurt Michael are still operating the family farm. And you just know that all those potato recipes are tucked away for safe keeping. A Michael family tradition for sure.

With just a quick email request to Todd’s wife Jill, I once again had the Potato soup recipe in hand. I was elated because the recipe was lost someplace in my mother’s kitchen.

(Jill has kept the original recipe and refined it a bit combining it with a couple of others.)

Here then, straight from Jill Michael’s kitchen in Urbana,Ohio, is the famous Michael Family Potato Soup Recipe:

6 medium Michael Farms potatoes (cooked in salted water)
2 medium onions (chopped) Add a few green onions if you would like!
1 and 1/2 quarts chicken broth
8 oz. cream cheese (chunked)
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
3 strips bacon cooked and crumbled
2 drops tabasco sauce
1 teaspoon chopped chives and sprinkling of paprika for topping
In dutch oven, cook potatoes and onions in chicken broth.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer  and cook for 40 minutes.
Place the potato mixture in blender or food processor(take out potatoes for chunks if you like), add cream cheese, and puree until very smooth.  Add salt, parsley, and
tabasco sauce.  Pour mixture into crock pot then add chunked potatoes and crumbled bacon, stir.  Top with chopped chives and sprinkle with paprika.

Michael Farms Potatoes.  The very best potato!

Michael Farms Potatoes. The very best potato!

Now, I have to tell you, the secret ingredient  to this potato soup is the potato itself.  It’s my humble opinion that this soup tastes best when Michael Farms’ potatoes are used.

Now that the days are growing shorter and evenings are getting cooler, it’s certainly the perfect time (and weather) for potato soup.  So, grab a bag of Michael Farms potatoes and  get out the pots and ingredients.   I’m willing to bet that when you sit down to a bowl of this potato soup, you’ll think of Urbana, Ohio, too.


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