Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Corn Soup

You may have seen on my menu plan that we had corn-on-the-cob for supper last night. Well, it happened that we had leftovers, so I decided to make corn soup for dinner today. It's a wonderful way to use up leftover corn-on-the-cob, and it's a great comfort food.

Thinking about corn soup reminded me of going to visit my great-grandma years ago. I was nine years old, and my parents put me on a bus (probably Continental Trailways) in Kansas City and I ended up in Osceola, Missouri. I can't imagine doing that to my own kids, but at the time I guess I just took it in stride. My "Grandma Millie" would meet me and take me to her house up on the hill overlooking the town and the railroad tracks. She had a big garden and we usually ate things out of it: peas, beans, corn. I can remember her snapping beans on the porch.

When I grew up and began canning vegetables I learned to cut my beans with a knife on a cutting board-- it was more efficient because you could cut many more beans at a time. Sitting in a rocker or porch swing and breaking individual beans into bite-size pieces by hand seems to embody a much more relaxed world view. Sittin' on the porch, fixin' beans for supper....

Of course, we didn't just have beans.

"What flavor of ice cream do you like?" she asked me on my first day.

"Chocolate!" I said.

And after supper she presented me with a half gallon of chocolate ice cream, all mine, to eat over the course of the week. She didn't care for it herself, she said, so it was mine. I still remember the awe I felt. She bought chocolate ice cream for me, just because I liked it!

This is the same grandma who, one year for Christmas, gave me a box of homemade chocolate chip cookies-- all for me. I know I ate more cookies than I should have that day (how do you play with a box of cookies?), but after that I portioned them out for myself to last as long as possible. I think I remember the last ones being kind of stale, unlike my memories of that unusual gift.

One dish Grandma Millie introduced me to was Corn Soup. It was totally new to me, and I loved it, and still do, and now my family loves it too. And it doesn't hardly sound like a recipe. Here it is:


Take several cooked ears of corn and cut off the kernels.
Put them in a sauce pan and generously cover with milk.
Add a large lump of butter, too much pepper, and plenty of salt.
Heat to boiling and then turn off the burner.

There's just something about this combination of flavors-- the sweetness of the corn, the butter, the salt and pepper, the warm milk-- that is wholesome, filling, and comforting.

Grandma Millie has been gone for several years now-- she lived till well over ninety-- but her corn soup is still alive, and so are my wonderful memories of "chocolate after supper."

1 comment:

My Ice Cream Diary said...

This post brought back a poignant memory for me too. My husbands father used to like to cook, but he was terrible at it. One time he made me a special batch of his sister's famous corn soup. I took one bite and about threw up.
"Do you like it?"
"Uh, it's, uh, interesting, Dad. What did you put in it?"
"Well, Velma's recipe calls for a little cream cheese in the bottom of the bowl. I didn't have cream cheese so I used Egg Nog."
My hubby leaned over and whispered, "Yeah, and he has 7 year old egg nog in the freezer."