Thai Chicken Soup and “gag-me-with-a-spoon” Family Favorites

When I found out this month’s theme for Recipe ReDux centered around vintage dishes, I immediately turned to my favorite vintage item in my kitchen, the 1985 family cookbook.

Lovingly typed and bound by my aunt 27 years ago, this cookbook is one of my most cherished possessions.

I can barely remember the family reunion, the only one we’ve ever had, but the photos and history contained in this book take me way back.

The first few pages contain our family tree, poems about what it means to be a family, and photos of relatives I never had the chance to meet.

Two of my favorite pictures are the one of my dad at age two, with big bright eyes that remind me of Joe,

and a stunning picture of my Grandma as “Miss Osage Hills 1946” appropriately placed on the Main Dishes page.

I also love reading this note I sent to my grandpa when I was “still 5”.

Growing up, I remember hearing stories of the famous family recipes.  We laughed when my dad told stories of being forced to eat my great-grandmother Meme’s beet jello, and how he spit it out into his napkin when she wasn’t looking.  It was the only time my grandfather saw them spitting food out into a napkin and let them get away with it.  The jello was that bad.

Dandy Don’s gag-me-with-a-spoon sweet potatoes describes both a recipe and a boyfriend the family didn’t approve of.  My aunt invited her boyfriend Don to Thanksgiving dinner and made his favorite sweet potato dish.  According to family lore, the sweet potatoes were horrible, and Don was even worse.

And I couldn’t help but laugh out loud as I read the recipe for my grandma’s cranberry salad.

Notice the parenthesis at the end.  Apparently my aunt was not a fan.

Flipping through the pages of recipes, I can’t help but notice the abundance of heavy cream, Velveeta, and oleo.  I was actually a bit surprised to come across a light and fresh soup recipe from my Aunt Kris (who we lovingly refer to as Ant Kris, though I don’t really remember why).

This Thai chicken soup is easy to throw together and perfect for a light lunch or side dish.  You could spice it up with a few more ingredients or keep it simple.

Just be sure not to gag yourself with your spoon…

Thai Chicken Soup

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 8 C. low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cucumber peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts sliced into very thin strips
  • 2 C. sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 3 C. chopped green onions about 2 bunches


  • Combine all ingredients, bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes or so. Serve with salt and pepper to taste.


  • Nina @ What's for eats? November 21, 2012 at 1:38 am

    What a lovely trip down memory lane Alysa! I loved your family reunion book and all of your Aunt’s funny commentary along the way – I can understand why it is a treasured possession.

  • Deanna @ Teaspoon of Spice November 21, 2012 at 5:41 am

    Your post is exactly why I’m loving reading all the ReDux entries this month! Love that you took use through some of the more memorable parts of the cookbook (now why didn’t you make that Beet Jello?) This Thai soup would be delicious with turkey Thanksgiving weekend – think I’ll give it a whirl!

  • Liz - Meal Makeover Mom November 21, 2012 at 7:20 am

    I love your post, though I’m not sure 1985 counts as “vintage.” I was well out of college by 1985 and already an RD. Oh well, no need to dwell šŸ™‚ Great recipe — so easy — and a good one for leftover turkey šŸ™‚ PS: I’ll skep the beet jello.

  • Chicco @ Chomps and Noms November 21, 2012 at 7:40 am

    I would love to try beet jello! that cookbook is such a great idea. I think I will start compiling my mum’s and aunts’ recipes together into a cookbook.

  • Dixya @ Food, Pleasure and Health November 21, 2012 at 7:56 am

    wow what an adorable recipe book with so many fun memories. I love this light thai chicken soup- very simple and few ingredients to balance out heavy thanksgiving dinner. simply loved it! happy thanksgiving.

  • Amy @Macncheesenpeas November 21, 2012 at 7:56 am

    What an awesome cookbook! thats a great idea. Love the gag-me-with-a-spoon and disgusting cranberry salad. hahaha your family must have a great sense of humor. I’m glad you were able to find a healthy and light recipe in there to share!

  • Wendy November 21, 2012 at 8:31 am

    What a TREASURE! I have my Grandma’s recipe box and I am the only one who learned how to cook her “famous”: recipes..none of which I cook the same today. But I am so happy to have them!

  • Stephanie November 21, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    My new goal is to create a fun(ny) family cookbook to pass down to my kids. šŸ˜‰

  • Serena November 25, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    I LOVE this post. What fun to read and SEE all these pictures and great recipe cards. And how interesting to see this “Thai” recipe from way back. Your grandmother IS stunning! (: