Family Recipes: Grandma Marie’s German Potato Soup



In 1913 fifteen-year-old Marie Kiesler immigrated to the United States from Stalluponen, (East Prussia) Germany (now Nesterov, Russia). She joined her sister Martha in Kansas City, Kansas, where both served as housekeepers/nannies to American families. In 1919 Marie married John H. Hodge, a soldier at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Marie returned once to visit her family in 1937, whence she got in trouble for refusing to display the Nazi salute. Marie died in 1949.

This simple soup uses readily available materials. Follow the directions exactly or it won’t have that authentic German taste.


6 slices bacon

½ c. chopped celery

½ c. chopped onion

8 medium potatoes, cubed

1 qt. milk

Salt and pepper, to taste

Garlic powder

2 Tbsp. bacon grease


Fry bacon until crisp; drain. Crumble when cool. Save bacon grease.

Cook celery and onions in large pot (in which soup will be prepared) in just enough water to cover for five minutes. Add chopped potatoes. Cook covered until soft, being careful not to let it boil dry. Mash potatoes coarsely. Add enough milk to reach soup consistency. (Depending on your taste, it may be as little as half a quart of milk.) Heat until almost boiling.

Add bacon and bacon grease. Season with salt, pepper and garlic, as desired.

Preparation options:

Finely chop onion and celery. Use uncured bacon. Bake rather than fry the bacon. Use fresh garlic rather than powder. Use whole milk. Serve with garlic croutons or shredded cheese.

Generously serves four, because you will want seconds.