The smell of the first rain in months, mixing with fall leaves in the chill of the morning… yes, that’s right: I’m digging left-over summer hot dogs out of the freezer for chowder.

Corn chowder with hot dogs and dehydrated potatoes

Mama’s north-country corn chowder: Canned corn, dehydrated potatoes and hot dogs

Mama’s corn chowder was made from dehydrated potatoes, canned milk, canned corn, cut-up hot dogs, onion powder, freeze-dried chives, and of course, lots and lots of black pepper.

It’s hard to remember now how isolated the north country was back in the day. A lot of the fresh produce I take for granted was unheard-of where we lived in rural Alaska. Before jets, before Amazon and the internet, mail order meant cases and cases of canned food and once-a-year school clothes from Sears that arrived on a freighter, not a FedEx truck.

Now, although I still use the dehydrated potatoes for this chowder — because fresh potatoes just don’t taste right 🙂 — there’s some fresh parsley and green onions in there too.

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