I come from a Slavic church as a kid. Czech. Slovak. Czechoslovak. The old ladies in the pews who spoke a broken English but baked up a delicious cabbage roll who got the sacrament in Slovak right where they sat...
My parents after their kids left the nest (My brother, me, my sister) would host Czech-Slovak Seminarians, young adults who chose to serve the Lutheran Church.
"What are you used to eating?" my parents would ask them.
"....soup? I guess. I eat soup....mostly. Soup. Every day. Soup."
I remember soup. Not often "dinner" with a capital D, but soup. Cauldrons of food meant to last for days. Bits of food dredged from the fridge and dropped into a liquid. More commonly as I got older and my parents busier. Refigerator Soup.
Perhaps potatoes. Perhaps celery. Perhaps green beans and perhaps zucchini (it gets kind of slimy) and perhaps a meat of some sort like chicken or turkey or beef. But always bay leaf. Always.
Bay leaf. Always.
It waited for us. The soup. After school. It sat there, ready to serve.
Back in medieval times the pot sat on the fire with leftovers and scraps added with only the eaten parts subtracted. Always an additive process. Leftover soup. As old as Western history. The cauldron on the fire with edibles added to a liquid. Soup and soup and soup and soup.
Never a recipe but for soup. A vector of liquid and food with spice or herb to dominate the randomness.
Tonight we had refrigerator soup. Stuff from the freezer and fridge that was just about to fade to "bad" with a chicken stock I got from boiling and boiling and boiling a chicken carcass after the meat was removed, and then froze in a pint jar in the freezer.
The boys, they ate with little comment. The wife added alphabet noodles to the randomness and stock. The boys, they know the wrath of Daddy when he makes something that the Boys they don't like or don't eat, or comment negatively on. Mostly the Boys they keep their fool moufs shut during dinner and eat or not based on the deliciousness of Daddy's cooking.
But soup. They mostly eat soup. Provide crackers of the Saltine variety and they'll eat.
A random mixture of leftovers, added to liquid and broth and served in a bowl on a winter night with crackers. Bland and spartan and generic and like home.