Monday, December 28, 2009

Corn Chowder

Earlier this month, just before the holidays, a dear, close friend of mine shared with me that she was in charge of her entire family's Christmas dinner and expressed a smidge of trepidation over the affair. I have the luxury of a relatively small family, so cooking for 15+ over a holiday has never really been an option for me, but I do remember the Flynn Family Christmas Eve Extravaganzas, with a huge house filled to the brim with laughing adults and screaming children.

Hmm, now I'm shaking in my boots too.

But even though those were some of the happiest times of my life, they were also the most simple. I vividly remember the drunkenness of a child's pure happiness, glee, and delight. Everyone shared the feeling, and the Christmas spirit of my memory will keep me warm through to Spring.

But you know what else? Cha-Cha, my grandmother, never brought out the fine china on Christmas. And we didn't have help in the kitchen. We had a selection of corn chowder, chili, and taco soup on the stove. There's the pot. There's the ladle. Help yourself. At best we used the somewhat chipped or cracked white octagonal beaded-lip bowls of her everyday dishes, but usually we used paper plates, bowls, cups, and utensils.

And that was just part of the fun.

The happy part, the real part, was honestly loving and enjoying the people around me. Furthermore, we had the bonus of not worrying about breaking a piece of crystal or tarnishing the silver.

So for the rest of your celebrations, simple it up. Not like Sandra Lee. Take it back to your grandmother, your great-grandmother, or another lady you know who is better at conversation than cru d'ete.

My Unc' called the other day to let me know he was making this dish, and it instantly brought back the best memories of youth at my grandparents' house. He wanted to let me know that he was using the meat thermometer that we gave him a few Christmasses ago to set off an alarm before the chowder boils. Ingenious.

Corn Chowder

1 pound ham, cubed
3 pieces bacon
3-4 green onions, chopped
2 large cans creamed corn
1 small can kernel corn
1/2 quart half & half (MUST be half & half. Anything else doesn't taste right.)
2 large cubed potatoes
White pepper and salt to taste
Optional parsley for garnish
  1. In a big pot, cook the 3 pieces of bacon until crisp.
  2. Take out of pan & crumble.
  3. Drain off all but 1 1/2 Tablespoon of grease for flavor.
  4. Fry 3 or 4 green onions in grease.
  5. Add ham & bacon and fry slightly.
  6. Add corn & stir well.
  7. Add half & half and mix well.
  8. Add potatoes.
  9. Top off pot with plain milk until desired consistency is achieved.
  10. Cook gently - DO NOT BOIL - for 30 or 45 minutes until potatoes are done.

Photo courtesy of Dinner and Jam.


Katy Agnew said...

You know, I requested corn chowder a few days before Christmas. It was so warm and comforting and turned out just right. Cha Cha smiled down on Pop...


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