5 weeks ago
Nov 21, 2008
Zen (?) Friday
Sorry Petrea. I'm feeling fuzzily disjointed today. I set out to find the perfect corn bread recipe, but failed. Heading in I knew nothing of corn bread. I learned that there are distinct Southern and Northern varieties. But which one should I side with? I had corn bread two or three times maybe and didn't even like it much, but maybe they were not good ones. Would I even recognize a good one?
Even the concept of corn bread was unknown to me when I was growing up in Hungary. Why is it? We had corn. Though it mostly served as chicken feed. Eggs of corn-fed chickens have deep yellow, almost orange yolks. We also cooked corn in water, with the husk, simmering it over low heat for an hour or so. Yumm.
My father was a writer, but at one point he gave up city life, moved to the country and took up raising chickens. That's how I learned how to put a chicken into a catatonic daze without hurting it. You pick up the chicken, tuck its head under its wing, then you swing it gently sideways a few times, back and forth. When you put it down it will just stay there motionless. To wake it up you just give it a little shove.
In Missouri I learned to wrap up corn in foil and bake it in the oven like baked potatoes. Apparently it's a Midwest thing - like fried (pig) brain sandwiches.
How does it happen? How come one culture looks at corn and decides to grind it up and feed it to chickens, another decides to grind it up and bake with it?
PS. Don't get me started on peanut butter.