Florida poet Barbara Hamby, who has published three books with the Pitt Poetry series, is known for cooking up delicious verse. Poet Laureate Billy Collins described one of her collections as offering “a generous helping of poems so crackling with references and busy with verbal energy you might feel them buzzing in your hands.”
It turns out that one of Hamby’s other passions is soup! “I love soup. It is the ultimate comfort food,” she said. Hamby usually has a freezer full of several different kinds, and enjoys trying new recipes.” Most of my soups are easy, and many are vegetarian or can be easily adapted to be vegetarian,” she noted.
Here, she shares with us her Deep South Minestrone, which she’s been making for almost 30 years. “It’s a recipe that begs the individual cook to make his or her adaptations,” she said. Hamby found the basic recipe in the Tallahassee Democrat when she was in her 20s. “I was a vegetarian and trying to figure out how to cook. If only I hadn’t been so poor and could have gone to Italy,” she laughed. “However, I was poor, so Italy was not an option.”
A creative writing professor at Florida State University, Hamby said she usually makes a huge pot of the minestrone at the beginning of every semester and freezes it, “so we have something nourishing to eat when we don’t have time to cook. I also use organic ingredients, which I think taste better. However, I have fooled myself consistently during my time on Earth, so who knows?”
Find the full recipe on her website.