I've served this hearty soup for as long as I can remember. I think the liquid smoke really flavors the soup nicely and the absence of ham is not a drawback. BE SURE NOT TO ADD ANY SALT OR PRODUCTS THAT CONTAIN SALT TO THE SOUP BEFORE THE SPLIT PEAS HAVE BECOME TENDER! I generally make this soup into a stew by adding more carrots and potatoes. This makes a large kettle of soup, so unless you're serving a lot of people, you won't need to double the recipe. The split peas will need to be soaked 1 hour before you begin making the soup (see directions).