3.16.2017

Not Just Any Cornbread: Will's Recipe plus Southern Discussion

It is amazing that the subject of cornbread would bring me out of my writing retirement. My last post was one month ago on this blog.  That's like years in the blog world. I knew that when I took the time to sit at my desk to write again, the subject matter would have to move me, but I had no idea the subject matter would be cornbread.

Cornbread.  I serve it with Will's chili. I typically make it when we have dinner guests and I must follow Will's recipe down to every ingredient or else, it probably will not get eaten.

So, what's so special about cornbread? This March, food writer and cookbook author Kathleen Purvis, won several awards by the North Carolina Associated Press for this story on sugar in cornbread that was originally published in March 2016 in the Charlotte Observer. I met Kathleen several years ago at a Savor the South cooking festival.

It is a fascinating article and really depicts the history of the South, and how our food can be so divers today based on how we were raised. You really need to read this wonderfully written article, but to paraphrase, it is believed that cornbread styles started to differ in the South based on the type of cornmeal used. Yellow cornmeal was less expensive that the naturally sweeter white cornmeal mix. Only Southern gentry used the white corn meal, and it was baked on special occasions.  It was not an everyday dish for anyone.

In the early 1900s, cornbread was made with flour and water-based white corn meal made with sweet white corn, but by the time the depression hit, yellow corn meal was produced because it was cheaper and would last longer. It is believed that cooks, especially African-American cooks added sugar to their recipes to give it a sweeter flavor.

Cornbread, of course, was made from scratch during that time using cornmeal, flour, which helped it rise, and some added sugar for flavor. Historians think this is one of the biggest differences between Southern food and soul food today.

The modern cook will also recognize this sweeter taste with the already prepared Jiffy cornbread mix.

My grandmother never baked cornbread. At least, I don't remember her serving baked cornbread when I visited. Instead, she made what is called "hoe" cakes. She would fry them in a cast iron skillet and serve them with her entree and the many garden-fresh vegetables she would prepare daily.

My own father learned a lot about cooking from his mother.  My Dad made this fried cornbread, too. He didn't make it a lot, but I do remember him doing it when he would fry fish or if he made fried okra or fried chicken. If he was frying a food then he would make this cornbread, too.

It's been probably twenty years since I tasted his fried cornbread, but I remember loving it. It was like hushpuppy cornbread.

I didn't start making my own cornbread until I married Will. He made it. His cornbread has been called "melt in your mouth" delicious. I've served it to guests. My kids eat it like cookies and people have asked for the recipe. It's the only cornbread I've made in the past seventeen years now.

I can't even say it is true Southern cornbread. But, I will tell you that I'm known for messing things up and when I do then it's no good.  I left the canned corn out of it one time and it was not the same. It was Ok, but Will said it was ruined. I also left the eggs out and again, it was not the same. In fact, that batch may have gone into the trash.

After reading Kathleen's article, I'm going to dub this cornbread as gourmet cornbread with soul because the base is Jiffy mix. I was going to make it for guests the other day and bought Trader Joe's cornbread mix. I told Will before I did it and let's just say I had to go to the store the day the guests arrived to get the jiffy mix. It's not jiffy....then forget it.

There is no telling what is in that processed jiffy mix, but we'll never go healthy with this cornbread recipe. Some things just can't be changed.

Photo of similar looking cornbread when I make mine. Recipe totally different, though. 


Will's Favorite Cornbread

1 box of Jiffy Mix
3 eggs
1 small can of white creamed corn
1/2 cup of olive oil
8 ounces of sour cream

Mix ingredients together. Bake in 9 by 9 pan for 40 to 45 minutes.


How do you like your cornbread?




2.18.2017

I miss cats, dogs, children, food, and travels on Facebook

I am in a funk.

And yes, I know there is an oil for that! Lots of them, and I inhale them daily, but even I know the essentials oils in my cabinet cannot change what I see on Facebook.

Will jokes, "Did it take Donald Trump to be President to get you to stop logging into Facebook?"

And I say, "I guess."  But, I still have the habit of logging in and when I do, I immediately regret my decision.

My son chimes in. "Facebook is for old people."

Apparently, it's the old people who cannot stop talking about politics then.

Every time I see my news feed, I get unmotivated.  I just want to hibernate in my home and watch the real news on TV or read the real news in the papers.

You know. Real news on TV where journalists report the facts and not give opinions.

No doubt.  The facts are pretty crazy lately.

To me, social media was supposed to be my Fru-Fru place.  It's where we told our friends where we were having dinner. What movie we saw.  What purse we bought or where we want to go on vacation.

I adore the steak tacos at an immigration founded restaurant here in Raleigh that is near my home. The entire menu is in  Spanish and the food is amazing.  I am so glad I found this restaurant called Don Beto's Tacos. 

 It was an escape from the daily news grind.  It was like the "Downton Abbey" of the dinner conversations where talking politics was frowned upon.

It's so important that people are activists and work to change things for the better good. It's critical that we have these strong people in our country. We need these people. People need to go and do. I respect them. But, why do people feel the need to share news reports all the time on social media?  I would rather see this statement in my feed, "I volunteered at the local homeless shelter for five hours today." That statement I would like. But, instead of seeing those facts, I see news article after news article.

Are they afraid that if they don't shout the news from the rooftops that people will think they support crazy things?  If they don't share political conversations, are they afraid that people will feel that they don't care about other people or immigrants?  Are they just afraid that people won't read or watch the news on their own and they are taking the time to educate others? If they share their cat's photo are they afraid that people will think they don't care about what is going on in the world?

We cannot get enough of our neighbor's dogs these days. The nice thing about logging off of  Facebook is that I now go for walks with our neighbors, too. 

I'm a former journalist, but I migrated to crime, features, and health because I liked that over politics. I used to groan when my assignment editor made me cover a city council meeting. But, I covered it very neutrally and that is what the real press is doing today. They are reporting the facts. I also know how to find the news when I want to read it.

Unfortunately, we live in a world now where we are saturated with news 24 hours a day.  We cannot escape it.

Facebook was once social, frivolous fun where we could log in and escape the constant news cycles for a little while.

Now, we have to turn to crazy filters on Snapchat to do that.

Look, I'm a cat with mutated hands, but man, my husband has good taste.



So, I promise you,  if you follow me on Facebook you're going to see a lot of fluff. But, that does not mean I do not care about this world and the state of craziness it is in.










2.01.2017

Hotel Travel: Hyatt Regency London- The Churchill In London Looks Historically Dreamy

It's no secret that I have a love affair with hotels then mix it up with my passion for London then you've got my attention when it comes to the many press releases I receive daily. Will and I have been watching Netflix's The Crown. Honestly, I'm not sure if this drama depicts more fiction than history, but regardless, I'm interested in learning more about Winston Churchill.

The Hyatt  Regency London-The Churchill near West End would be the perfect spot in London to learn more. The luxury hotel recently completed a multi-million dollar renovation and Sir Winston Churchill is at the center of it all.

Winston Churchill statue at Hyatt Regency London-The Churchill


Sir Winston Churchill’s family worked closely with the hotel in the design process, sharing original artworks, photographs and love letters between Churchill’s wife, Clementine, and himself.

The Churchill Bar & Terrace was designed by internationally acclaimed design firm Spinocchia Freund and features elegant bookshelves curated by Daunt Books that contain literature reflecting the interests of young Churchill and Clementine

common areas of Hyatt Regency-The Churchill


 Lawrence Holofcener’s sculpture of Young Winston sits on the bar’s alfresco terrace, with staff placing a fresh rose in the sculpture’s lapel every morning, just as Clementine did.

Fine fabrics and iconic designs – namely bespoke herringbone, button detailing and signature furniture pieces – reflect the iconic leader’s love of quality. 

New Renovation at Hyatt Regency London...featuring elements of Winston Churchill


“We are thrilled to have completed the hotel’s multi-million pound refurbishment, and we are looking forward to welcoming new and returning guests. It was an honor to work so closely with Churchill’s family to bring to life the character and history of the hotel’s namesake and we are delighted with the results,” said Arnaud de Saint-Exupery, area vice president for Hyatt in the United Kingdom and Ireland and hotel general manager. “At Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill, we are proud to offer business and leisure travelers alike the perfect place in which to work or relax in one of the world's most iconic cities.”

Hyatt Regency London Goodies


The renovation now includes a new luxury suite package in collaboration with world-renowned department store Selfridges. The stylish Life is Suite Package with Selfridges offers guests a VIP welcome, luxurious suite accommodation, five-star service, and a behind-the-scenes experience at London's legendary Selfridges on Oxford Street.

Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill boasts a great location tucked away in the heart of London’s West End – just steps away from Hyde Park and London's most famous shopping districts of Oxford Street and Bond Street. The hotel benefits from superb transportation links to Kings Cross St. Pancras and Heathrow Airport, making it the ideal hotel for both business and leisure travelers.

At a quick check on my affiliate Hotels.com link, I found rates for under $400 and if cheaper if paid in advance.  Hyatt is also offering many discounts, too. 

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