Tuesday, January 19, 2010
I told myself I was going to talk about vegetables today. I'm sure that you need them as much as I do right now, but in the end, I just couldn't do it.
Today, it's got to be cornbread.
Sadie stayed home today. She was coughing this morning and I knew she would be that kid at school, you know, the coughing one. So she stayed home and the coughing miraculously subsided. Whatever it takes, I guess.
We had a day, and I was a good mom and I was a bad mom, and she was a good kid and a difficult kid.
It depended on the moment.
We picked up my sister and took her to her piano lesson, and Sadie and I took a walk in the woods to pass the time. It was snowing and raining and sleeting depending on where you were standing, but the end result was more pleasant than you might imagine.
With every icy step, there was a new metaphor.
I guess I was in that kind of mood. I wouldn't say that's necessarily a good thing.
I mean, can't a bridge just be a bridge?
Even when it expands between the plowed road and the wild forest?
Can't train tracks just be there?
What is it about train tracks that makes me think of where I've been and where I'm going?
And Sadie. If I could only just let her be a child, a child taking a walk.
It's just that Sadie, my careful, slow child who struggles with her bike for fear of tipping, who didn't jump until she was four, was galloping down the icy mountain.
She skidded to a stop every few seconds to look up at me. I was moving at a very different pace. I don't like falling.
"Come on Mom!"
And when she finally did fall, sliding butt-first into the slushy ground, she looked surprised, and then she burst into laughter.
She looked up at me. "I never imagined that I would fall!"
I know, don't take everything as a lesson, Alana. Get out of that strange metaphor mood.
I'm doing my best to run, but I can't help but dig my heels into the snow a little bit. It's habit, you know?
And sometimes it's a good thing to be a little safe. I'm trying, I'm trying. But if life is getting a little riskier, I want good, safe food.
Which brings me to cornbread.
Cornbread, just out of the pan with butter, is safety in a pan. You can make cornbread in half an hour, and you know that it will be good, at least as long as it stays warm.
This is my favorite cornbread recipe. It is a little bit sweet and more moist than most. It is light and it is good for breakfast and good with chili. Unlike nearly every other cornbread I have tried, it is even edible the next day if you toast it a bit.
For the brave days there are strudels. There are chili rellenos and fleur de sel caramels. But for safe days, there is cornbread.
adapted from the King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion
1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 cup (4 3/4 ounces) yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup maple syrup
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 large eggs
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease an 8x8 inch square or 9-inch round baking pan.
In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt until thoroughly combined. In a large measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk, maple syrup, melted butter, and eggs. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until barely incorporated.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cornbread is lightly browned and a knife comes out clean from the center.