The graveyard of personal literary ambition.
There is only one of me, but I am Legion.
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Things have been a little stressed around here, this last week. Industrious needs surgery on his shoulder, so he’s not able to boost the old dog into the car twice daily for walks, and he can’t really look after the baby on his own, so I’ve been exploring some mother’s helper options so I can get out to the barn. Which is obviously something I could let slide, but I missed all of last season, and it’s also My Thing, which I really need and enjoy.
So, naturally, I’ve been making cornbread. Authentic cornbread! Which means no sugar. Sugar in cornbread = cake. I love cake! Go make some cake. I mean, look, I’m Canadian, so what do I know about Southern cornbread, etc., but you have to draw the line somewhere, you know?
Anyway, you need to use cast iron. Cast iron is the greatest of all things. You might be scared of cast iron! You might say, oh, my God, you don’t wash it with soap, it must be filthy and full of germs. WELL, people say that about something other than cast iron, and they’re wrong too. You know what I’m talking about.
Cast iron. It’s cheap, it’s non-stick, it heats evenly and it’s oven-safe. I have a 12inch, a 6 1/2 inch, and a Dutch Oven from Lodge, and I would save them first in a fire. Or, whatever, let them burn, they cost sixteen bucks, and you could probably haul them out of the ashes and discover you’ve made an amazing cassoulet.
Bacon drippings. Don’t say Crisco. Don’t say vegetable oil. Goddamn bacon drippings. Just toss in some bacon, eat the bacon, pour off some of the fat, and add it to your ingredients. You can get a real recipe anywhere on the web, I won’t blather on (it varies depending on the size of your skillet, etc.), but you need cornmeal (white or yellow, stone ground has the best texture), an egg or two, buttermilk, baking powder, salt, and BACON DRIPPINGS. I like taking the hot skillet I’ve just made the bacon in, adding the batter, then popping it in a 425 degree oven for 15-20 minutes. The cornbread will get golden-brown, and the edges will pull away from the sides of the skillet.
Douse that mother in butter, eat it.
It tastes weird, if you’re used to cornbread with sugar. For me, it tastes like Westeros. It tastes like Winter is Coming. This is some gnarly, earthy shit. It’s filling and good and savoury and great with milk. Give it a whirl, k?