Rags to Riches Corn Chowder

Today, I was talking to Mil, my mother-in-law (101 years old) about the lean times during the years of The Great Depression.  She told me a story I would like to pass on to you.  She had told Chick, my brother-in-law not to ever pick up anything in the street.  After walking home from school one day, he told her he had seen a dime in the street. 

“Why didn’t you pick it up?” she asked. 

“Cause you told me not to pick anything up from the street.”

“Go back and see if you can find it.”

When Chick found the dime, Mil was so happy she took him to the corner store to buy him a treat.  He picked out a penny piece of candy called a Mary Jane.  It was a kind of taffy with chocolate on the inside.

I asked her, “What did you do with the rest of the money?”

“I bought a loaf of bread,” she told me.  “It was seven cents.”

For those of us who don’t remember the Depression, it’s hard to imagine what people went through.  It was a difficult time, and many people lost their hope in the American Dream. Although the song Rags to Riches was written much later, it could have been an appropriate love song for the times.  Check out the first and last verses.

I know I’d go from rags to riches
If you would only say you cared
And though my pockets may be empty
I’d be a millionaire

Must I forever stay a beggar
Whose golden dreams will not come true
Or will I go from rags to riches
My fate is up to you  

Our recipe for this week is taken from the most frugal time in our history.   Cooking then “focused on cheap food, substitutions, and making do with what you had.  We can learn a lot from the great homemakers of the past by finding original Great Depression recipes, recorded and passed down the generations, and even adapting them to make some of our own.”  Danelle Ice – Home Ever After Menu Plan: Great Depression Recipes  



Depression Era Corn Chowder


  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans whole kernel corn
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 3 cups diced potatoes
  • 2 (12 fluid ounce) cans evaporated milk
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large pot over medium heat, combine broth, corn, onion and potatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, until potatoes are just tender.
  2. Stir in evaporated milk and butter until butter is just melted. Season with salt and pepper and serve at once.  Serves 8
One Response to “Rags to Riches Corn Chowder”
  1. Donna Hudson says:

    I am enjoying reading your encouraging blog entries every week and I really appreciate the recipes, too! I tried the Depression Era Corn Chowder for dinner tonight. Delicious!

    Many Blessing to you!

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