“Leeks cost more because fewer of them are grown and fewer of them are grown because there is less demand for them. And why is there less demand? Because despite their high price today, they have long been associated with and dismissed as the food of the poor and the powerless. In the seventeenth century, the gardener John Parkinson noted that leeks were the food of the impoverished in England and that leek pottage was ‘a great and general feeding in Wales for the vulgar [i.e., average] gentleman.’”
Ina Lipkowitz, Words to Eat By: Five Foods and the Culinary History of the English Language
“Samantha had already told him that the housekeeper took care of the laundry and she had asked him to provide a comprehensive list of his favorite foods. He did put leek and potato soup at the top of it. Samantha said her husband, Clarence, loved leek and potato soup himself, so they should all be very cozy together.”
Mary Breasted, Why Should You Doubt Me Now?
While leeks are now considered more of a gourmet vegetable, it’s interesting to note that they were once considered “the poor man’s asparagus.” Combined with potatoes in a filling, hearty soup, they provided sustenance for generations of working people.
Leek and potato soup is a simple dish—full of flavor, and easy to prepare. Opinions vary on whether dairy should be added, and if so, what kind (cream/sour cream/milk). Feel free to tinker with the ingredients to achieve the taste you desire, as long as you keep the main components: leeks, potato and stock. Garnish with a green herb (such as parsley or chives), and serve with a salad and crusty bread or Welsh Rarebit for a light meal or on its own as a starter.