Winter, Corn Chowder, and a Very Special Woman

Born January 3rd, 1920, Katalina Herskovitz, my grandmother, would have been 97 years old today. She passed 10 years ago on Christmas Eve. And on this particular year, her Hebrew death anniversary fell on New Years Day; on Sunday, the day she always had as over for lunch.

To some, she was Katy. To others, Katyca; but we called her Anyu (A-ñu) which in Hungarian means mother. You see, Anyu was born in Transylvania which in 1920 was, questionably Romania but after the war, it reverted back to Hungary. She then married a Hungarian so that is the language they spoke at home. So when my oldest cousin, David, heard my aunt and my father call her Anyu, the name stuck, and 6 grandchildren, and 16 great-grandchildren later that is how we still refer to her.

She was an extraordinary woman. She loved to cook for us and had some staples that until this day my sisters and I make for our sons. I am planning on sharing some of her recipes with you on later posts. Today, I want to talk about winter foods. The Winter is also something that reminds me of my Anyu; it was the only time that she would be caught wearing pants. This woman would only be seen in dresses or skirts otherwise. She loved going on Ski trips with us. The highlight of her day was to be waiting for us at the house with her famous tomato soup to warm us up after a long day of skiing.

I like to think of soups in the winter too. This week I’ve been craving corn chowder. And so tonight, inspired by this post, I made the Chief in Training’s recipe of corn chowder (which was her grandmother’s recipe), with a twist. First, I switched the bacon for turkey bacon, and instead of regular milk and cream, I used Organic Valley Lactose-Free Milk and Lactose-Free Half & Half  (some members of my family have a “beef” with lactose). Other than that, I doubled the recipe and voila. It was delicious


UPDATE: It was brought to my attention that I had the history of Transylvania all wrong. The correct story goes like this:  Transylvania was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, mostly settled by ethnic Hungarians. After WW l, Transylvania became, and still is,  part of Romania.

I stand corrected!



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