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.

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Amy Silverman is a two-time winner of the Arizona Press Club’s Journalist of the Year award. Her work has appeared on the radio show This American Life and in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Lenny Letter, and Brain, Child. She’s the co-curator of the live reading series Bar Flies, and a commentator for KJZZ, the NPR affiliate in Phoenix. Silverman is the author of the book My Heart Can’t Even Believe It: A Story of Science, Love, and Down Syndrome (Woodbine House 2016). Follow her on Instagram (@amysilverman), Twitter (@amysilvermanaz), and at amy-silverman.com.