History Buff Stirs Up Rich, Creamy Dish
When Doug Forrer cooks, he does it big.
Whether it’s a massive amount of meatballs that last through the winter or meals made with generous helpings of each ingredient, you’ll never leave a meal made by Forrer, treasurer of Lackawanna Historical Society, hungry.
A prime example is his hearty Potato Soup recipe, which holds all the fixings of a loaded baked potato. It also earned the historical society a grocery gift card through Local Flavor Gives Back.
“I’ve never done a calorie count,” Forrer said, laughing. “You can’t count calories for something like this. You just have to eat and enjoy.”
The soup was more like a full meal, with hearty potatoes and rich, creamy broth. Light flavors of cheese and bacon gave the soup a bite. It’s no surprise Forrer’s a great cook, considering he’s as passionate about food as he is about history.
In the summer of 1992, as an incoming freshman at University of Scranton, the now Factoryville resident noticed the Lackawanna Historical Society was right on campus. As a history buff, he knew he could spend time getting lost in the region’s history. That fall, Forrer signed up to volunteer and has stayed with the society ever since, from giving tours to helping around the organization.
Residents will have the chance to follow in Forrer’s footsteps this weekend. The historical society will welcome community members for its annual holiday open house on Friday, Dec. 7, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Catlin House, 232 Monroe Ave., Scranton. The all-ages event is free and open to the public and will feature music, traditional arts and crafts, story time and more activities.
Author Sandra Burgette Miller will be at the event signing copies of her book “Tell ’em,” which recounts the story of her great-grandfather, Thomas Burgette, who escaped slavery through the Underground Railroad and settled in Waverly Twp. Guests also will have the chance to peruse the traditional Victorian decorations around the house.
“It’s a nice way to celebrate the holidays and kind of see what the historical society is all about,” executive director Mary Ann Moran-Savakinus said.
Forrer admitted it’s tough to be as involved in the organization today as he was before. He and wife, Shannon’s, three daughters — Madeleine, 9; Juliette, 6; and Alexa, 4 — keep the couple busy. The bulk of Forrer’s work happens behind-the-scenes, but he knows he eventually will get back to doing big things.
“I’m really looking forward to being retired and getting back into being an active volunteer here,” he said. “I can’t stay away.”
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Doug Forrer’s Potato Soup
5 large potatoes
5 green onions
1 (22-ounce) pack bacon
1 stick butter
8 cups milk
1 cup flour
2 cups cheddar cheese
1 cup sour cream (plus extra
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pepper
Bake potatoes for 1 hour, 30 minutes, at 350 F and chop up.
Whisk butter, milk and flour together.
Chop up onion, and separate green and white parts.
In crock pot, mix all potatoes, milk mixture, white onion parts, most of the bacon (set aside some for toppings), sour cream, a handful of green onion parts, most of cheddar cheese (set aside some for toppings), salt and pepper. Cook for at least 2 hours on low, stirring multiple times. Top with leftover bacon, green onion and sour cream.