I’m still in the thick of the kitchen remodel, and a term paper- but my mom was requesting a polenta recipe- so I thought I would offer you this one embedded in an essay I wrote this term. Enjoy.
think you’ve seen this pic before- yes you have, clever reader. Get the more concise, and previously mentioned recipe by clicking on the photo.
Cornmeal is a proper beginning for many meals whether simple or complex. The best kind, worth seeking out exclusively and establishing as a pantry staple, is stone-ground cornmeal. This key cereal is sometimes labeled as coarse-ground polenta or grits. Cornmeal can easily be transformed by additions, just as easily as it has been renamed. Its mythic history as maize, underscores its endless possibilities on the plate. Ancient Americans cultivated, preserved, and prepared this sacred cereal. When giving offerings to welcome newcomers to America their gift of corn was great. While it appeared simple, it was really complex. To the natives who presented it to early settlers, maize was rich with meaning. It was a connection to the land and their people: the ultimate taste of home. It still captures that flavor, not just to those who grew it first, but all those who tuck into a warm and creamy, humble bowl of maize.
Cooked cornmeal porridge is quintessentially comfort food. It was the embodiment of home to the Native Americans who knew it first, it is a foundational food to those who adopted it as their own in Northern Italy, and in the American South it is routine and ritual. Cornmeal mush, spoon bread, polenta, mamliga and grits are all really cooked cornmeal porridge by an assortment of names and slight variation of cooking. While their differences are slight, their effect is universally soothing. And with good reason, cornmeal—even good quality stone-ground cornmeal—is equally soothing to the pocketbook. Continue Reading →
“Call me when you need an oven,” my friend Melissa said to me when I announced we had begun gutting our kitchen. She knew me too well. When I am bored I cook. When I am feeling creative I cook. When I am hungry I cook. When I want to do something for someone else, I cook.
Often times this means baking. I like the ritual of baking bread as much as I like eating it. Recipes and techniques are as familiar to me as friends. I keep in close contact and bake often. As much as I hated this shoddy broken-broiler beastly oven, I liked baking in it. I had a hard time letting go of it. Even after we had sawed and hauled away the cabinets that housed it, and left it sitting on a pair of tiles on the concrete slab, (yes, just like the picture) I was still getting my baking fix. I carefully draped that wonderful, terrible oven in plastic sheeting to protect it from the dust storm when my husband created 40 pounds of powder while grinding down the quickset from the old tile; I couldn’t give up on the oven too early. We swept and suctioned up the mess, and the oven was still good for a few more days until the electrician pulled the plug and said it was time to let it go.
But still, I wanted to bake. In the midst of the chaos my house has become, I needed to bake more than ever, but my oven was gone. Continue Reading →
Pardon the phone picture, heaven only knows where the camera was at that moment.
In the past few days we’ve been demolishing our 1985 kitchen. That means all of the horrid layout, the bumping into the stovetop island, and compensating for the weak stove had to go along with all of the old cabinets, soffits, and cold, hard tile flooring. We still have a LOT to do, but it nice to see light filling the room where previously it was blocked by said obstructions. And the light pouring in means we can see the giant mess of a kitchen ever so much clearer. Friends, we have trashed that place; and we aren’t done yet. The popcorn ceiling is coming down tomorrow or the day after. Goodbye 1985, and hello 2013. Continue Reading →
The original post and another one made in the fall were lost somewhere in the internet during my hiatus. I have no explanation, but here is some restitution. I recreation of that post and the recipe and original photos. Enjoy.
Green has been my favorite color for years now. Even my kitchen table before this one was painted a peppery, verdant green. It’s the color that excites and indicates progress. Green lights are for go and the first bright yellow-green leaves spurting on the trees right now lets me know the glories of spring are on their way. Green is renewal, hope, and promise. I can’t help but look at this fresh green adorning the trees now without thinking of the Robert Frost poem, Nothing Gold Can Stay. My children will attest I recite it to them at the start of each green-gold spring. Continue Reading →
- New year, new kitchen, and more changes to come
I’ve been out for a while. Really. I’ve been thinking about checking back in here, thinking about the recipes and writings and thoughts I wanted to shared- but life got frantic and I didn’t write and I didn’t post. And then the blog when berserk and some of my more recent posts vanished into the ether and I cannot get them back, despite my efforts to recover them. Grr. It was not encouraging, but I needed this space back. Somewhere to write and share the things that are so central to me, that I couldn’t stay away forever.
So, I’m back. And now for some news. We bought a house. Really. For the first time ever in my adult life, my little family has a place to live and establish a home without an expiration date on it. We don’t have plans to move, and instead making this place the kind of home we want to stay in for a long while. Which, of course, means we have some work to do. Continue Reading →