Tag Archives: Cornbread

Dried Beans and Cornbread

When I was growing up, my dad did most of the cooking in the house, but on weekends Mom would sometimes cook, usually dried beans.  I think if I had to choose one food group to live on the rest of my life, it would be beans.

With rice.

And cornbread.

The kids love beans and rice, so I pulled out of the pantry some dried butter beans from my dad’s garden and soaked them overnight, so we could have them for dinner Monday.

I never prepare beans exactly the same way, but it generally goes like this:

Soak beans the night before, then rinse in the morning. Put them in a crockpot.

Warm some kind of smoked pork product in a skillet (bacon, sausage, or best of all, a ham bone) and hopefully render out enough fat that you can saute an onion in it.  If not, you’ll have to use a little oil. Depending on what kind of beans I’m cooking, I may also add celery, garlic or peppers.

Put the meat and veggies in with the beans, and add a bay leaf and thyme.

Cover with water and cook on low all day.

When they’re done, add salt and seasonings to taste.

That’s it.

Last night, I happened to have buttermilk in the fridge, so I decided to whip up some cornbread.  What follows is a modified version of Mark Bittman’s recipe, and it was so good that the kids and I ate just about the whole pan.

Best Homemade Cornbread

3 T butter

1 ¼ buttermilk

1 ½ cups cornmeal

½ cup flour

1 ½ t baking powder

1 ½ t salt

2 T sugar

1 egg

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Put 2T butter in a glass 7 x 10 baking dish and place in oven to melt.  Set a timer so you don’t forget about it while you mix the batter.
  3. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk.
  4. Measure the buttermilk in a larger glass measuring cup than you need, then add the egg and mix.  Stir into the dry ingredients.
  5. Pull the baking dish out of the oven if you haven’t already, and pour in the batter.
  6. Bake about 30 minutes, just until the edges are lightly browned and the sides start to pull away.
  7. Take the remaining 1T butter, and let it melt over the top, spreading evenly as it melts.
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Give Me Cornbread

 

My kids and I were listening to the Zydeco masterpiece Give Him Cornbread by Beau Jocque on the way to school.  It’s a song about, you guessed, cornbread.  At some point, he shouts “Couche-couche!” which is cornbread left over from the night before sort of mushed into milk and eaten for breakfast.  I have distinct fourth-grade cafeteria memories of the boys making a huge mess on their trays pouring milk over their cornbread and mashing it up.

 

AG pops up from the back and responds “I love couscous!”

 

My thoughts:

 

A#1- At eight years old, hell, at eighteen years old, I had no idea what couscous was.

 

B#2- And I’m proud that she loves food in the way I do.

 

C#3- But I surely knew about couche-couche.

 

D#4- And it makes me very sad that the kids are disconnected from my Cajun heritage, my people.

 

Does every parent who leaves their childhood home feel this struggle?  I love Acadiana.  I love the people, the food, the music.  I get goosebumps when I hear Edwin Edwards talk.

 

My kids have already had a broader life than I did growing up there.  They’re exposed to so many different cultures, ways of life, ethnic foods, and therefore, more of the real world.

 

Some might say I over-romanticize. But I miss home.  And I don’t get back often enough.  So this weekend, if only for twenty-four hours, we will push off some of our commitments and head west on I-10.

 

And learn about couche-couche.

 

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