Contests

Kim Kunasek's Winning Essay: Mom's Ultimate Comfort Food, Pfannkuchensuppe

Earlier this week, we announced the winners of Just Like Mom's, Chow Bella's first Mother's Day essay contest. Today we present the winning essay by Kim Kunasek, about her mother, Emilie Charlotte Klaiber -- and Klaiber's recipe for "pancake soup."

My mother has always been a life force. As a cook and as a mother, she is creative, patient, resourceful, and loving, and her food tastes like that. Her cooking skills have helped her survive poverty, nurtured her family, comforted the bereaved, and helped a new mother (me, among many others) feel a little normal for a while when life is spinning out of control.

A poor German immigrant, my mother moved to the United States in 1959 with her new husband and her 8-year old daughter, my sister. With modest tools and budget and knowledge born of scarcity, she could make amazing meals from almost nothing. My mother never bought packaged chicken legs or breasts when I was growing up, instead quartering a whole chicken and using every spare part for something. The bones were roasted and stewed to make soup. The organs and gizzards had their part in the soup making or in gravies. Pre-packaged ground meat? Never. Gravy for any dish (more red wine and herbs than arrowroot and flour) was sublime, good enough to sip from a spoon.