Potato leek soup is wholesome good cheap food. It also happens to be easy and pretty fast to make. Everyone has their version. Most versions are ultimately the same. Variations include whether or not you use butter, olive oil, or a combination of the two. What type of potato you use and whether or not you put cream or milk in it are other variations. Proportions of leeks to potatoes as well as thickness and choice of garnishes (if any) are just about the only other variations I can think of.
I didn’t plan on putting my version on this site until I started thinking about the price of food and how useful it is to show people what home cooking really costs. It is ridiculous (but widely believed) that eating fast food is cheaper than eating home cooked food. Obviously, if the food you’re cooking at home is lobster and steak all week, and if you garnish your food with gold, that might be true. But then you have to compare eating at a pricey restaurant to your cooking. Fast food is basic food. There is nothing fancy (or healthy) about it. It’s frozen beef patties, cheap cheese, out of season never really ripe vegetables, and the cheapest kind of bread imaginable. Still, you generally pay $3 to $7 for those meals, right? Can people really suppose that simple home cooking costs more per serving than fast food?
A while ago I priced out one of my favorite bean and vegetable soups to see what it cost me per serving to make. The Tenement Stew was .53 cents per big bowl. With some toast it is easily as filling as a flimsy fast food burger and regular order of fries. Two slices of toast might add about .50 to your meal. Plus a pat of butter would add .10 cents (or let’s be generous and say you need two whole pats of butter) so for one wholesome and filling meal of homemade soup and toast you spend $1.23. That’s a cheap meal. Considering how much better it is for you than fast food your money is going a lot further nutritionally.
I’ve been seeing more food writers costing out their recipes and I really like that, I find it useful, especially for people who are just learning to cook from scratch. It’s also great for making comparisons like these – to show people that if you want to eat fast food, that’s your business, but don’t say it’s because it’s cheaper than cooking from scratch.