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Grandma’s Chicken Corn Soup

February 1, 2010

Nothing says lovin’ like my Grandma Ebersole’s Chicken Corn Soup.  It’s the ultimate in comfort food for me.  The soup is delicious, but the story behind it is even better.  I met my grandma when I was just about to turn five.  (My biological father had died when I was three and my mother was engaged to marry a wonderful man whose wife had died of cancer.)   After traveling about an hour we arrived at a big, white farmhouse in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  There was a barn nearby and cows in the field, as I remember.  I was a city girl and this was all new territory.  My grandparents’ house was bustling with several sets of aunts, uncles, and cousins who were yet unknown to me.  The women dressed in simple dresses with white net caps on their heads which I later learned was part of their Mennonite tradition.

After proper introductions, I followed my new-found cousins out to the barn and watched as an uncle chopped off the head of a chicken.  (I’m thinking there were two chickens, but I’m a little fuzzy on that.) As I watched it run around, I felt badly for the chicken so I went inside.  Shortly after my arrival, the chicken joined me in the kitchen.  My grandma and her four daughters set into motion preparing what I now know to be “Chicken Corn Soup.”  They began to pick the feathers off the chicken, picking it until it was nearly clean.  I had never seen anything like it.  Then came the corn cut off the cob.  It had never occurred to me that the kernels I ate were the same, ones that had been connected to a cob!  These ladies worked together like well-oiled machinery, each one doing their job effortlessly.  The last element of our meal was the homemade mint iced tea made from the mint leaves I helped gather from the front yard.  This remains one of the freshest meals I’ve ever eaten!

My memories of the soup are precious to me, but the most powerful emotion comes when I remember the kind, gentle woman who warmly welcomed me into her family.  To me, every bite of this soup says, “love” and “acceptance.”   I hope your family enjoys this recipe as much as the Moore family does!

Click here for the recipe.

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