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Q & A: Baked Potato Soup

Q:

Who invented baked potato soup?

A:

You might just be able to trace this back to the Irish, or to the French, when lines of people gathered for food handouts and mixtures of cheap ingredients became a soup.  Modern variations of the baked potato soup emerged at the chains Steak & Ale and Bennigan’s and can easily be traced back to the question “what are we going to do with these left over baked potatoes?”  Well, some became potato skins, with the insides scooped out to become mashed potatoes. Some leftover bakers were re-purposed into twice baked potatoes, but some also became soup.  Speaking of delicious and hearty soups…does anyone out there remember the steak chain Victoria’s Station headquartered in the San Francisco bay area?  They had a wonderful steak soup comprised of left over chunks of prime rib.  Note: Victoria Station grew to 100 locations before closing in 1986.Moving on to baked potato soup.  What makes a great one?  Usually those that incorporate some of the toppings you find on a loaded baked potato such as shredded cheddar cheese, sliced green or spring onions, real bacon bits or chunks, and a dollop of fresh sour cream.