Souped up…soup


I ended up getting over my little fussy episode yesterday through a multi-step plan of bitching to Webber, eating Sticky Toffee Pudding Haagen-Dazs (OMFG, I love the stuff), and then making and consuming some poblano corn chowder, as you see here. Listening to Jon Stewart talk about the Russia situation helped as well, as he seems…unconcerned.

The thing about corn chowder is that growing up, we pretty much only got it on Christmas Eve. My mom will probably deny this in a fit of “Well I guess I’m just a terrible mother, then” isms, but I only REMEMBER eating it on Christmas Eve, and I used to get so excited for it. Back then, it was called “Christmas Soup” and had been passed down through the generations from my great-grandma Mary. Back then it was a butter-intensive, bacon-crumble-smothered bowl of glory. I do remember my mom occasionally doing something different, like adding some diced green pepper to make it more Christmassy, and the following uproar that was similar to what you’d see if she had stood on a stool and announced that we wouldn’t be having Christmas that year. So corn chowder was regarded with reverence and awe, seeming to appear out of nowhere on the stove after we’d walk home from Christmas Eve services at church.

There was a brief moratorium on corn chowder after one fateful Christmas Eve that we went (and here’s where the whole thing initially went awry) to a family friend’s house for dinner instead of following our traditions. There was an 18 year old girl there, and I think I was about 20. She was terribly whorish, and between the two of us we consumed enough pink wine to drop a pair of oxen. I was beside myself with grief at the loss of my corn chowder on the one day a year where I expected to get it, so I consumed most of a pan of high-falutin’ catered corn souffle in its stead. On the way home, I suffered from the pink wine and ACCIDENTALLY threw up partially digested corn on the rest of our family members in the car. So it was a couple of years before anyone wanted to see corn on Christmas Eve.

In that time frame, I managed to weasel the corn chowder recipe out of my mother and start making it on my own. It doesn’t just come at Christmas time anymore, and is basically my favorite thing ever. I will grudgingly admit that it isn’t as exciting as the freezing walk home after a candlelit church service to find warm special occasion soup. In that way I suppose I’ve destroyed a bit of its majesty. But in another way, hell, I get to eat corn chowder in August, so I still feel like I’ve won.

Ironically, I have taken the soup whose integrity was aggressively defended by our family against our mother’s innovation, and completely bastardized it. This version has poblano peppers and diced black forest ham in it. It was mighty, mighty tasty, and quite a bit lower in calories (thickened with low-fat milk and no bacon grease). Maybe this is my way of making sure that the stuff I get on Christmas Eve is still regarded as a special thing, unique to that night. Maybe not. All I’m certain of is that if my mom had attempted to put poblano peppers in our chowder, there would have been mutiny to the point where she might have had to spend the night with baby Jesus in the outdoor nativity scene at church, snuggling up against plastic, light-up sheep for warmth.

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