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GOOD TO KNOW: White corn meal = Best corn bread. Evah.

It’s all about the blonde!

So tonight we had easy fish stew for dinner and I decided to make the usual corn bread to accompany. Imagine my surprise when I retrieved the old reliable Indian Head corn meal from the pantry only to find I’d picked up white corn meal rather than the usual yellow during my last trip to Fairway!

You know, btw I hate Fairway. I swear their floor plan is designed to induce psychosis. For example:

ME: “Excuse me, where might I find the cinnamon?”

FAIRWAY GUY: “Well it depends what kind you want. You can get it in aisle 5 with the imported spices or back in the produce section with the Spanish seasonings. We also have some in the organic food area of our annex, or you could just mosey over to aisle 114B where there should be some next to the domestic pie filling.”

ME: “I’ve been running around here for thirty minutes in search of one freaking jar of  cinnamon. I don’t even know where I am and will need a St Bernard and a gallon of whiskey just to make it to the check out. Can you just get me some goddamned cinnamon?”

FG: “Ma’m, have you been drinking?”

It’s always the same.

Anyways, I was feeling far too lazy to run down the the Las Americas bodega to get the usual yellow product, so I threw caution to the wind, poured another glass of wine and decided to roll with the white stuff. One of these years I’m going to get a working camera to share the fruits of my labors, but until then, you’ll just have to take the word of the Slattern family that the white cornmeal makes a far superior corn bread. Lighter, finer and altogether more pleasing. It’s not difficult to make — just use the recipe on the back of the sack.

If you’re too lazy to click the link, read on to see the recipe just as it appears on their site. Foolproof.

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In praise of the bread machine

courtesy breadinfo.com

Let me tell you bread machines were the hottest things since, well sliced bread, in the early 90s if memory serves. These days you don’t hear much about them, really, what with the ascendance of convection ovens (two sets of cooking times, are you kidding?), restaurant grade appliances (in the home?! I don’t need the unreasonable expectations created by having six burners), and the George Foreman grill (get real, I live in New York City. There’s barely room for the coffee maker in my kitchen, and that’s critical). But you never hear about the lowly bread machine anymore. It’s fallen out of fashion, and I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because we’re in a period where labor-intensive is more chic than labor-saving, and that’s just messed up.

Well let me tell you, fashionable or not, the bread maker is absolutely the greatest kitchen appliance. Evah. Imagine waking up to the smell of baking bread in the morning – takes the sting out of being occupied, don’t it? But the real benefit is that you do almost nothing, no kneading, no resting, no rising, no agonizing. Just dump the ingredients in, press the button and walk away. Four or five hours later, voila. Could not be easier.

Now, I have read the food porn that touts the pleasures of bread making – how Zen the experience of being up to your elbows in dough can be, how satisfying it is to serve a handmade loaf to family and friends. Blah blah blah.

Horseshit.

It’s a lot of time and effort, and it never comes out right. The machine is foolproof and slattern friendly, and the product is indistinguishable from “real” homemade bread, of which I’ve eaten a fair amount in my life – one look at my ass proves it. I can’t tell the difference, and I’ll bet Grammie Sue couldn’t either. And by the way, if she’d had a bread machine in the 1950s, things might have been very different in her house.

So dig that bad boy out of the closet and crank it up. Don’t worry if you’ve lost the recipe book. There must be a million recipes on the web, but all you need is one. You can thank me later.

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