Finding My Chowder — Part 2

Corn Chowder

Corn season on the East Coast is ending, sweetness flying off cobs to hole up for the winter and be retrieved -- if we are lucky -- for our next warm time. Still, there's an autumn corn-ucopia to be had. The few farm stands that remain open are stocking swollen cauliflowers and glossy leeks, hard parsnips, more and still more carrots. But the corn in their coolers, tassels limp, allow us a final chowder. Brooklyn kids from the '50s rarely saw corn on a cob at home. Canned corn, even dairy-free "creamed style," was considered lazy roughage, … [Read more...]

Finding My Chowder — Part 1

cannedlunch

  I don't know where she was born, and I don't know her real last name. When I say this to friends or even to party strangers, they quite rightly raise eyebrows. My late mother lived to almost 90. What kind of adult son would have been so profoundly uncurious? As of now, I've found no record of her before her marriage to my dad -- no marriage certificate, either. Her maiden name is "Browne" on the photostat of my birth certificate, but she told me later that that was not the case and offered another one -- also, as it happens, … [Read more...]

Pasta Vazool: The Conclusion

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    A Note to My Readers -- Part 3 In learning to cook, I find that I am learning to think, in recipe form. That's different from cooking per se, because a recipe is communication, a medium that's supposed to outlive a Tweet, or a chef. It's also not supposed to hurt you: Place the unopened cans — yes, unopened — in a pot of boiling water, perhaps on top of a washcloth so that they don’t rattle. Cover the pot and simmer for two and a half or three hours, taking care to replenish the water as needed to keep the cans submerged: … [Read more...]