Mom and Gus: PA Dutch Fare

My mom’s sacred space is her kitchen where she offers the sacrifice of her heart and hands to those in need and indeed her family. On my last trip to Pennsylvania, Mother made chicken corn soup from a recipe in her head. When I ask her how much of this or that, her quick reply is always, “Just how you think.” I don’t know what to think, so I always try to extract some measurements out of her. Her current “guess” for our favorite harvest soup:

Mother Longenecker’s Chicken Corn Soup

Cook 5-6 pieces of chicken, breasts or thighs. Set aside.

In broth from cooked chicken, add 1 ½ – 2 pints of corn, fresh or frozen.

Dice 4 hard-boiled eggs.

Now, add chicken breasts, chopped up

Season with salt & pepper to taste

Mom's Chicken Corn Soup without Rivels
Mom’s Chicken Corn Soup without Rivels

Rivels: dough-y lumps can be added to soup for more texture

1 beaten egg

Add enough flour to make a moist doughiness of the mixture.

Break into small dumpling-like pieces and add to soup.

 *  *  *  *  *
About 2 miles east of Mom’s house near Mt. Joy is Gus’s Restaurant. Gus is Italian, but his eatery is in Lancaster County, so aside from spaghetti, fish dishes, and fancy desserts on the menu, he offers ham loaf and pork and sauerkraut dinners with mashed potatoes for hearty Pennsylvania Dutch appetites.
A heavy meal, this dinner will give us enough fuel to make it to the Philadelphia Airport and then home to Jacksonville. Gus’s food is tasty, but Gus’s is a public place without a hoard of cooking aromas and shared memories from Mom’s Kitchen, her sacred space. In fact, it’s not a fair competition at all.
There’s no contest!
What favorite recipes do you savor during the fall season?
What are your memories of special dishes around the table with friends or family?
Coming next: Old Friends, New Friend: Homecoming @ EMU
Your thoughts welcome! I will always reply.

21 thoughts on “Mom and Gus: PA Dutch Fare

  1. What bright shiny faces,Marian! You are both beautiful and I love your necklaces:>) Wonderful story about your mother’s sacred place.
    It is so warm and inviting here.


    1. Patti, one bright shiny face (the one with the bigger jewelry) is Shirley Hershey Showalter, the author of BLUSH, her memoir which I reviewed right after it came out near the end of September. In her book trailer, she says she may be fancy outside, but she wants to be plain inside. I think pursuing the simpler life is one of her goals right now. More on Saturday’s blog post.


  2. I love chicken corn soup but I’ll leave out the rivels! My favorite during fall though is broccoli soup, or chili, or maybe some nice sausage gravy and pancakes … which I made last night just because I missed my husband’s Lion Pancake days ‘cuz I was away. Too much to mention!


    1. Broccoli soup is hearty too. The last time I had it was at Panera Bread.

      Chili? When I came back home, my husband had a huge pot waiting. Believe it or not, Florida is cooling down much like the rest of the country.


  3. The chicken and corn soup sounds similar to the southern chicken and dumplings, without the corn. Mother would make her own very thin, flat dumplings, dropping them in the simmering broth one by one. Later adding raw eggs to the rich stock creating coddled eggs, so good. Such time, thought and love poured into the meal process making all feel warm, secure and safe. There seems to be a sacredness that takes place around the table, a place to rest, share and receive from each. The Last Supper has a deeper meaning as we reflect on meals with family around the ‘table.’ Lost in our current culture, what a shame! Love your posts Marian, always meditative and nostalgic. So glad you made it back safely to the ‘land of the sand.’


    1. This weekend I listened to a lecture by a scholar/author, Valerie Weaver-Zercher, whose research has concluded that people today, men and women, want a break from the frenzied pace of modern life. (She calls it hypermodernity.) Family meals appeal to the longing for the slower, simple life that take us back home. I want to feature her work on my blog soon. Thanks for your insightful thoughts–always!


  4. That chicken corn soup sounds like the perfect thing to stock for the upcoming colds and flu season. What a warm and inviting kitchen. You are looking happy and healthy 🙂


  5. Marian, that soup picture was so vivid I could almost smell it! And, like Melodie, I’ll leave out the rivels. Enough carbs!

    I enjoyed our short meeting so much. Thanks for including me in your report on your trip.

    My sister is coming to stay overnight at our house tonight. Guess what I’m serving for supper? Bratwursts, sauerkraut, and mashed potatoes. I think the subliminal messages from this post must be working. 🙂


  6. My grandmother used to make the world’s best chicken and dumplings. If you asked her how to fix it, she’d take you back further in the recipe than you wanted to go. First, you select the fattest chicken from the yard . . .


  7. Marian, What a fun post. So glad we’ve connected. As for favorite meals, I’d have to say scalloped ham and potatoes. It was my great-grandmother’s recipe and I have a memory of going back for FIVE helpings of it as a child. My husband made it the other night, but he diced the onions rather than sliced them … so sad. Alas. I’m blessed to have such a problem.


    1. Janet, you have a wonderful memory–a boon when writing stories from days of yore: FIVE helpings of scalloped ham and potatoes! Mom made that dish too; I can almost taste it. Yes, you are blessed to have a slicing vs dicing problem. If only other parts of our lives were so simple. Thanks for dropping by.


  8. I can attest to good simple Dutch fare home cooking from Marian’s mom. But since she doesn’t often make dried beef/gravy I’ll sneak off to Gus’ and continue believing in the veracity of rave reviews for Southeastern PA food.


  9. Years ago, I was given the recipe for pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. I usually make them only in the fall and sometimes into the winter. My kids wait eagerly for the arrival of the muffins. Upon making this year’s first batch, my oldest said,”This is my favorite food – ever! It’s kind of like confirmation for making it through another year!”


    1. Nice to hear from you again, Jamie. I have never heard of the combination of pumpkin with chocolate chip. Is it a family secret or can you share it? I’ll bet my readers would love to make these muffins–this time of year especially. Anything with chocolate is welcome in my books.

      You are making great memories with your kids. I hope you are keeping a journal (quick quotes are okay) and take plenty of photos.


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