Cut up potato(es) and a half a stick of butter and add it to a medium-sized sauce pan on a lowish temperature. Stir occasionally as you cut up onion(s), carrot(s) and celery stalks. Saute until the whole mixture is kind of mushy. If it gets too dry, add some olive oil—it adds a subtle taste that is very apealing, but not necessary. I was listening to Bruce Cockburn’s The Charity of Night (with Pacing the Cage!)—that clocks in at just over an hour, so that’s how long I would cock this. Now you can set this concoction aside and get out your big aluminum stock pot. At this point, take a moment to feel superior to those fools who think that Aluminum cookware is going to cause Alzheimer’s Disease.
Boil a bunch of water in your Aluminum stock pot. How much? I don’t know: more than a quart. Cut up potato(es) and boil them until they are cooked, but don’t let them get mushy; you already have enough mushy potatoes. When you get “there”, add all of your cocked vegetables and mix it all together. Now add a fair amount of salt and about half of the pepper that you will eventually want in the soup. And add a bay leaf. Let it cook on low for about the length of Janis Ian’s Between the Lines (it is okay to skip At Seventeen or to repeat Watercolors).
During this time, go through your cupboards and refridgerator looking for things that might make this soup more delightful. Pasta is a must. If you use something like angel hair pasta (as I did), make sure you break it into small pieces; this is not some weird Vietnamese soup. Elbow macaroni works well, but requires more cooking. The truth is that everyone has old pasta lying around for years; this is the way to get rid of it. Remove the bay leaf.
The other thing you need to look for is stuff to turn what should be, at this point, a perfectly fine soup into an exquisite cream soup. I had left over sour cream, some box milk, and (because I am who I am) a cup of heavy cream. Cream cheese would work well too. Add whatever cream you can until you feel the need to consult a cardiologist.
Finally, add the rest of your pepper. Enjoy it, but don’t eat it all now because it will be even better tomorrow.