Cut bacon into bit sized pieces and fry them in the Dutch oven
When crispy, remove the bacon from the pan onto a paper towel, reserving the bacon grease in the Dutch oven
Chop all of the vegetable up into bite size pieces, and grate the carrots
Add 1 tablespoon of butter to the Dutch oven at medium heat
Add the carrots, celery, onions and spices to the Dutch oven and sauté until vegetables are tender and translucent (about 5 minutes).
Add a small amount (about ¼ cup) of chicken stock to the Dutch oven to deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom of the pan to get all of the bacon bits up.
Add the rest of the chicken stock, water and potatoes and simmer on medium heat for 30-35 minutes or until potatoes are tender
With an immersion blender, carefully blend the soup just a little. You want it to thicken up, but you still want good potato pieces left in it as well. Don't puree it!
Add the half and half and let it simmer for another 5 minutes
Add half of the cooked bacon
Prepare the toppings
Serve the soup and allow your guests to add their own toppings. YUM!