In our continuing efforts to clear out old and unwanted things, we have also been going through the food cupboards. Old spices which were bought long ago for some forgotten recipe, old spices which now smell of mustiness, they can go! Unusual flours for bread we meant to make which now have gone stale – and lifeless, old flour goes lifeless doesn’t it! And bottles of odd condiments which actually don’t taste very nice, they can go too!
I came across some cornmeal – nothing at all wrong with it, but I’m going to make some corn bread!
Here is something I wrote the last time I made some:
Following my success a few weeks ago with corn bread, I’ve made some more to go with a chilli. Sweetcorn, cornflour, polenta… they are so often part of things we cook and things we eat, it’s sometimes easy to forget that like potatoes and tomatoes they didn’t arrive in Europe until they were brought back from the Americas.
The word corn however was used long before maize was introduced and described as corn, originally called Indian corn. Originally ‘corn’ just meant grain and could be applied to anything but was usually understood as wheat or oats. The actual word is Old English, meaning grain, and you can see the connection with ‘korn’ in our cousin language Frisian and our grandparent language Saxon. There were other varieties of the seam word in kurnam, coren, kärna and kaurn. In that old sense it was the seed which was understood, not the actual plant, and it’s present in barleycorn, meaning the see to grow barley.
Corn as a grain crops up in one well-known meat product, corned beef! Here the preserving process for the beef used corns of salt, grains of salt, and it was corned or salted meat. I’ve had success with cornbread, I don’t think I’ll try making corned beef though!
- 1½ cups of cornmeal
- ½ cup plain flour
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- melted butter (the recipe said bacon fat but I hadn’t got any) I used about 10 grams
- I added a good pinch of salt and a teaspoon of sugar
- sift the dry ingredients together
- lightly beat the eggs, milk and melted butter or fat
- beat the liquids into the dry ingredients
- pour into a well-buttered dish
- bake at 425°, gas 7 for about half an hour (my recipe said 20 mins but it wasn’t nearly enough)
I guess I could make lemon and rosemary cornbread, couldn’t I? Oh… and spellcheck tried to change polenta to tadpole… not sure tadpole cake would be awfully popular!