Babies and cornbread

In the hours before the Antigeist gave birth on Tuesday night, her man asked how how she was doing.

You’ve got to hand it to her. Rather than yanking out a fistful of his chest hair to share the misery, as some lesser women might do, she offered this clear-eyed assessment:

I’m in a significant amount of pain. It’s called labor. There’s a reason they don’t call it “summer” or “whee!”

The baby’s great, of course — full head of red hair, and the longest fingers and toes you ever did see.

Between becoming an auntie, staying up to watch the NLCS, and racing to meet various deadlines, my mind just hasn’t been on blogging this week. And Annie Reid, who usually takes over on Fridays, can’t pick up the slack today.

But I do have something for you Yankees (and I don’t mean fans of the baseball team) in the audience: a proper — i.e., unsweetened — cornbread recipe, from Bill Smith’s Seasoned in the South.

Because, really, what is it with Northerners and cornbread that tastes like somebody forgot to frost it?

One of these days, we’re also going to need to talk about your “chili.” But one step at a time. For now, cornbread:

1 cup plain white cornmeal
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tablespoon sale
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teasponn baking soda
2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Preheat over to 350° F. Grease an 8-inch cake pan and dust with cornmeal. Sift together all of the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Beat the butter into the egg and then stir into the buttermilk. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry. Pour into the cake pan and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the center is firm, the top has browned, and the corn bread has begun to pull away from its pan a little.

After you’ve done this a few times, go out and get you an old cast iron skillet, and modify the recipe accordingly. Then you’ll really be cooking with grease.

For some cornbread history, take a look at the U.T. interview with Elizabeth Engelhardt, author of The Tangled Roots of Feminism, Environmentalism, and Appalachian Literature.


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