Blue corn bread with purple hull peas from last summer’s garden. I cooked the peas in the same manner as the Christmas butter beans.
Might I propose an extra verse to the traditional Irish blessing? May you always have corn bread to sop up your bean juice.
But will it be sweet (Johnnycake) or savory corn bread? In my past life as a married woman, baking corn bread required negotiation. My ex-husband sees corn bread as another vehicle for sugar, but I like it hearty and rustic. (Like my men! Ha! Couldn’t resist.)
Rare Romance, Well-Done Marriage, a story I recently heard on The Moth podcast, explored household disagreements on food preferences. The storyteller, Adam Gopnik, pondered how “food becomes everything else.” Gopnik is insulted when his wife insists that he finish sauteing high-quality tuna until it looks as though it came from a can; her repeated rejection of his sense of taste hurts his ego. But the story sweetly concludes with a compromise: Gopnik will braise everything, which eliminates the rare/well-done divide.
I can relate to Gopnik’s thesis that “mouth tastes become moral tastes.” My college roommate, Nicole, was disgusted by my love of cilantro, celery and fizzy drinks. (She is still disgusted, but I don’t have to defend myself as often since she lives in Austin.) And I confess that since I’ve grown to love fried eggs over easy, I question the tastes of those who require a hard yolk, which is just gross.
What enduring food-related rivalry do you have with your partner/roomie/kid/lunchmate? Miracle Whip or mayonnaise; chocolate or vanilla; crunchy peanut butter or creamy; coffee or tea; white meat or dark; ranch or vinaigrette; white or wheat; medium or rare. What else is there? What am I missing?
Indulgent blue corn bread with candied jalapenos
The blue cornmeal came from Stone Stack Mill via the Oklahoma Food Cooperative. The corn is grown in West Texas and is milled in Hydro, Okla. This batch was made with bacon fat. The candied jalapenos complemented the smokiness from the bacon.
from the 1975 Doubleday Cookbook by Jean Anderson and Elaine Hanna
1 cup sifted flour
1 cup sifted cornmeal
1 T baking powder
¾ t salt
1 T sugar
1 c milk
¼ c bacon drippings
Preheat oven to 400˚. Sift flour, corn meal, baking powder, salt, and if you like, sugar into a bowl; beat egg with milk and oil just to blend. Make a well in dry ingredients, pour in egg mixture, and stir until well blended. Pour into a well-greased 8x8x2 baking pan and bake 20-25 minutes until bread pulls slightly from edges of pan, is lightly browned and springy to the touch. Cut in large squares (or wedges) and serve oven hot with lots of butter. (That’s really what it says! Lots.)
Part One: Beans