Kernels of Hope (Corn Soup)

Hi.  I don't know about you, but it's been one of those weeks. 

This crazy lady named Irene decided to take a run up the East Coast and turn every one's world upside down.  Warning - this post probably doesn't talk a lot about corn soup - if you need to, you can just look at the pictures and pretend it is a post about corn soup :-)  Sorry...  Next week, I promise to return to "normally scheduled programming".

I am okay; my family is okay & our house is okay.  I very fortunate. 

In many of the towns and communities surrounding me, a lot of people were not so lucky

While I was cutting kernels off the ears of corn that had come from a local farm (Schoharie, NY), I couldn't help but wonder about the current condition of the farm that it had come from.  Many of those low-lying farmlands were now under water - late-summer crops lost, livestock lost, livelihood lost. 

Communities collectively holding their breath.  Watching the rivers rise higher.  Higher.  Waiting for the cresting.  Waiting for the recession.  Waiting to get back to their homes.  Businesses.  Assessing the damage.  Seeing what can be salvaged.  Picking up the pieces. 

Left wondering.  How.  Why.  

I was left with the realization that the scenes playing out in front of me on the news weren't in some "other" state.  Comfortably removed from my day to day existence.  They were communities along the roads that I drive every day.  Communities where co-workers live.  Businesses that I frequent.  Communities where friends and families of people I know live. 

Frankly, it was/ is sobering.  And a little whole-lot over-whelming. 

As I drove around trying to deciphers all of the detours on my way to work - to get to that one bridge that would get me where I needed to be - the knot in my stomach tightened as I realized the meaning of it all.  A little piece of me wondering how things could ever be alright again for those affected so tremendously. 

But somehow - as it always seems to - in the midst of all the chaos, little kernels of hope keep popping up...

Reports of people who were evacuated from their homes donating to local shelters - because they felt fortunate to still be alive.

Acts of bravery & selflessness.

Neighbors helping neighbors. Cleaning. Rebuilding. Picking up the pieces.  Humans showing compassion to humanity. 

Employers reaching out to affected families. 

Stories of community spirit. People refusing to be broken.  Moving forward. 

One good deed spurring another.  Picking up speed.  A positive force to counteract the negative forces that were the root of the destruction. 

Like a good soup, communities need a base to bring out their "flavor".  Onions, carrots and celery may be the heart and soul of a good soup base - but it is the kindness of people that forms the heart of a community.  At a time where things are so crazy, there is comfort to be had in knowing that goodness in humanity is not totally lost.  Something that even this cynical girl can't deny...

Kindness begets hope. 

The Dude & The Karate Kid braving a trip to the corner store in the middle of Irene...
I hope that all is well with the rest of the FFwD'ers living in Irene affected areas.  I know that many of you were impacted.  Thank you to everyone who checked in with me this week to make sure things were okay - it was touching. 

This post participates in French Fridays with Dorie.  Come check out what "corn"iness all the other FFwD'ers have been up to this week. 


  1. Glad to hear that your family is ok, though hate that your area got slammed. Soup was invented for times like this.

  2. Cher, this is a terrific post. I love the soup & community analogy. I'm so glad you and yours are safe and sound!

  3. Great post, we always bounce back. Need to keep the spirits up

  4. Thanks. We were truly fortunate.
    A good friend of my sister barely had enough time to get herself & her four children out of the house before the waters hit their area. All that is standing now is a front porch.
    It's sobering.

  5. Love your post this week. Irene has impacted so many all along the east coast.

  6. It has been a while since I've participated in a FFWD and I was keen to see what everyone has been up to!
    We heard a bit about Irene down here in Australia, I'm glad you guys got out of it ok.
    It's been crazy weather these days!
    And your soup looks great!
    Better write up my post!!

  7. This is a beautiful post. I'm so glad to hear that you and your family are okay. Hopefully things will get back to normal soon.

  8. soup is comforting in times like these! I'm glad you and your family are alright!

  9. Hurricane season is a (word that rhymes with) witch... Unfortunately events like this one bring out the resiliency and community spirit that should always be felt - especially in these tough times. My thoughts are with everyone who was affected, especially with the farmers.

  10. Cher...I love this post and thanks for reminding us how fortunate we are and sometimes we forget and I am glad that you are okay :) Continue to keep the spirit up and this corn soup is a great comfort food for weather like this :)

    I did the same thing like you did to the soup....bacon bits as garnishes :) and it tastes so good :) Take care and God bless !

  11. Lovely post reaching out to those affected by Irene. Your soup looks very tasty as well.

  12. Hope your community is doing okay and it's nice to hear that people are helping each other out. I love the way the bacon looks on top of the soup. Very pretty! :)

  13. I loved your "Post of Hope" and am grateful that you guys are safe.

  14. I'll take our heat and our dust storms and the dessert monsoons over the widespread destruction of storms like Irene. We were worried about extended family in NY and also on Hilton Head Island. We also had a friend trying to return from here to New York City and was stranded somewhere in the midwest for a few days. And I thought of you and other cyber friends...the clean-up for many goes on. Love your post and very happy you are OK.

  15. I'm relieved that you and your family were spared from the worst of Irene's work but saddened to hear that your surrounding communities weren't. You're right, kindness really does form the heart of a community, also that of a nation. Your corn soup post reflects that generous spirit. Oh yeah, the soup itself looks very heartwarming too!

  16. Loved your post, Cher! It has been a tough road for so many communities around here too! So much flooding...and so many people with out power still. Our little one lane bridge, down the street from me, was damaged very badly. We were also very fortunate. We only lost our power for about 20 hours. Glad you and your family are safe and well! Your soup looks wonderful!

  17. Cher -- I loved your post, and so glad to know that you and your family are ok. Food and Community - hand in hand!

  18. What a lovely post...such devastation in your area. Glad you're OK~

  19. Cher, Please e-mail me. I would love to talk to you. Renee from Kudo's Kitchen gave me your blog address as well as your Twitter, however I am not on twitter and would like the chance to thank you properly.


  20. Oops, I forgot to include my email.. Silly me. Too stunned by your generosity.

  21. Glad to hear you are safe and sound. It was a hard time for anyone who had damage or lived in fear of what could happen.

    Your corn soup looks great. Thanks for dropping by.

  22. Hi Cher, A beautiful reminder that a week where the highlight might be corn soup could actually be a very good week! Thanks for sharing your heartfelt observations and I'm happy that the storm passed you physically unscathed but very sorry for the others in your community that are suffering.

  23. What a heartfelt post, Cher. Times like this, don't you find that cooking calms the spirit? Once again, I'm so glad to know you're safe and sound.

  24. A sobering post.. makes us thankful for what we have - our family and loved ones. I'm glad you and your family are safe. Your soup looks great, hope it warmed everyone up.

  25. What a beautiful and moving post. Cher. It is truly amazing and wonderful the strength of the human spirit and how in times of devastating loss everyone pulls together. When I make this soup from now on I will always think of you and your kernels of hope.

  26. Cher, you really weren't straying off the topic - I feel we have to think of food in relation to the community around us. It's part of what we are and I'm very glad your family came out of the storm ok.

  27. That is a really wonderful post, Tricia and I are glad you are all
    okay. We had no problems here in our area of PA, just lost cable for
    a few hours. Your soup looks great, we certainly enjoyed this

  28. Cher, I am so glad that you and your family are OK. I was so wrapped up with my own personal story here in Serbia, but Irene was scary even from this far away.
    Your post is beautiful and made me smile.

  29. That's a beautiful meditation on what's been happening in your region. Food and community are inextricably linked, both in terms of survival and also for making sense of hard times. I hope the flooding subsides soon and that people are able to begin rebuilding their lives.

  30. Glad you are ok! And this soup looks like just the ticket to combat Crazy Irene! (not sure why this entry just popped up in my goodle Reader this week - sorry for not commenting earlier!)


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