BY VALERIE BELDEN WILDER
Columbia County, NY I Saturday, 14 January 2017
Lately, I’ve felt like eating soup all the time. It’s sooo comforting, after Christmas is over and the bleak, grey, bitter-cold reality of January sets in. I only know how to make one kind of soup, corn chowder. This, of course, isn’t counting a brief foray into French Onion Soup in the 90s. (When my date wasn’t super impressed, I moved on. From French Onion Soup and him. Ha!)
I’ve also felt like eating soup a lot lately because I got a fabulous set of gumbo spoons for Christmas. (Gumbo spoons are big, like soup spoons, but rounder.) They’re in the Oneida Evening Star pattern from 1950, which was one of my mom’s wedding silverware designs. They’re so pretty and shiny, I just want to use them all the time!
I just made a big batch of corn chowder recently, because my local, small-town library has a soup sale every Wednesday evening in January. Patrons donate big batches of soup and the Library Director sets up the large community room with all kinds of Crock-Pots to keep the soups warm.
The soup sale is eagerly anticipated each year, by staff and patrons alike. It’s something to look forward to when the post-holiday blues try to creep in.
You can buy a pint of soup for $4, or a quart for $7, and they even throw in some French bread slices, too. Isn’t that a great idea for a fundraiser?
I don’t really have a recipe for my corn chowder, I just wing it. And I call it Carol’s Corn Chowder, because my mom says she liked to have a pot of this on in the church kitchen when she knew there were going to be visitors who had a long drive home. It’s easy and filling, plus you can easily stretch it if more people show up than you expected.
All I do is saute some diced onions in butter in a medium-sized Revere Ware frying pan while I’m boiling some diced, skinned potatoes to about halfway done. I cut up some hot dogs, or Smokies when I’m feeling rich and fancy, and put them in with the onions.
Everything goes into a large pot at this point.
Then I dump in some cans of creamed corn and drained regular corn, along with the drained potatoes. I stir the mixture a lot, and try to get it thoroughly warmed through before adding some milk and/or half and half. I don’t add any salt, because I figure canned corn already has plenty of sodium.
The only way you can really go wrong is if you boil the soup after adding the milk and get that creepy milk skin. So, after you add the milk or half and half, keep the heat low and stir it constantly, just until warmed through.
Voila, Carol’s Corn Chowder! It’s cheap, easy, and delicious, a great prescription for the January blues.
This post was originally entitled Churchy Corn Chowder, when it was first published 14 January 2017.
Post name was later changed to Carol’s Corn Chowder and light edits were made.
Carol passed away 25 September 2017. This post was republished 25 September 2020, in her memory.
She was a wonderful cook, and is sorely missed by her family and friends. Rest easy, Mama.