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Soup warms the soul

Janelle Marcotte, member of Northern Plains Electric Cooperative and recipe submitter
Janelle Marcotte

We all have food memories, whether it’s a fond childhood memory of a traditional meal or recalling a distasteful personal dislike. The smell, texture and taste all play a part in the nostalgia. Memories are not only prompted by the food itself, but the place or people connected with that food.

This is particularly true for this month’s Italian Sausage Soup recipe submitted by Janelle Marcotte of Carrington. When cooking this spicy soup, the aroma of the onions and peppers triggers memories of her parents and family gathered around a hot bowl of soup.

This soup recipe passed down by Janelle’s mother has been a staple dish in the family for years. It has continued to be passed down to Janelle’s daughter and Janelle hopes it will someday be passed down to her grandchildren.

Food not only triggers memories, but it can also fill you with a sense of comfort during tough times. This recipe was particularly comforting after Janelle’s mother had passed away and Janelle continued to make the soup for her father.

“I would invite him over or bring him something to eat at least once every week, oftentimes this soup. We really bonded and became very close over our weekly hot meals up until his passing,” Janelle shared.

Janelle, who is a firm believer that “soup warms the soul,” will often cook many types of soups for her husband, Shawn, along with their grown children and their families. But there is a special feeling that comes over her whenever she cooks the Italian Sausage Soup.

Nothing can compare to homemade soup served with freshly baked bread. That’s why Janelle also submitted a recipe of her Garlic Bubble Bread that pairs perfectly with the Italian Sausage Soup. She found the recipe for the Garlic Bubble Bread in a magazine 20 years ago.

A past Northern Plains Electric Cooperative employee who retired in 2017, Janelle looks forward to receiving the North Dakota Living magazine each month. She and Shawn are also members of Northern Plains Electric Cooperative.

“I like keeping up with the cooperative news, but the Recipe Roundup is my favorite. I’ve been tearing out recipes for over 30 years. I have tried out many and have never cooked a recipe I didn’t like. Actually, I have loved them all!” she said.

Janelle worked for the cooperative for more than 37 years. Having many titles, she joked, “I guess I wore many hats, but never a master at any.” Her last title at the cooperative was customer service representative. As for retired life, she loves it. “I’m never bored, and I always find something to do,” she said.

Most of her time is spent in the kitchen, cooking food for funerals or goodies for bake sales, as she volunteers a lot of her time around the Carrington area. When she isn’t in the kitchen or volunteering, she enjoys repurposing wood furniture and spending time at the lake during the warmer months.

Brittnee Wilson is the communications specialist with Northern Plains Electric Cooperative.