Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A Little Butter and Jam, and You'll Hardly Notice...

I've resorted to "Is THAT the time? Where's the takeout menu?" a few times too often in the last fortnight. When you have to move the Styrofoam container holding the tad-too-congealed last teaspoon of tarama to get to the plastic tub with the scant quarter cup of tikka masala that's hiding behind the limp pile of bean sprouts you both picked out of the Pad Thai, and then rummage through the meat drawer looking for the sorry packet holding the tissue paper thin half slice of ham you inexplicably decided wouldn't fit on your sandwich the day before, and without any irony whatsoever call that breakfast? Time to hit the grocery store.

So imagine my simultaneously overworked and lazy behind slinking through the grocery store in the wee hours of the morning. Tired, hungry, in no mood to cook but we haven't won the lottery yet, so it's cook or not eat. And there, on the shelf...

Now THAT's what I'm talkin' about!

When I was young, I didn't really put any thought into food, except for the sheer disgustingness of all the things I wouldn't eat. Even now, just the smell of a can of tuna freshly opened makes me want to scrub my brain free of the memory of the horror that was weekly tuna casserole.

The few things I did enjoy usually had one or two things in common. Either they were so salty your cardiologist would need to lie down, or so sweet your folks would need a sedative to deal with the aftermath. Top of my all time favortie list, though, were Cap'n Crunch, corn bread, and caramel corn. Can't handle the Cap'n for breakfast these days, unless I want to try to apply a band aid to the roof of my mouth... again. (pepperoni pizza accident... don't ask). But for me the corn bread is still right up there with any activity that can be preceded by the phrase, "I probably shouldn't, but..."

Best of all, three boxes for 99 cents! Now, I have been known to make three different corn breads in a day, trying to find one that's moist inside and crispy outside, so I don't usually resort to mixes. But at 2am, ending up with the box of mix AND eggs that aren't expired AND milk that hasn't solidified is a certified miracle in our house these days. So I limited myself to only three boxes, with admirable restraint for someone who has to be up and at work again in four hours, and went home.

The first box was everything I remembered. Almost nothing is better than hot cornbread, spread with a tiny bit of butter and a slice of good ham. Salt and sugar, in a handy bite sized snack? Follow that with a custard eclair and a side of Laughing Boy, and we're talking died and gone to heaven.

Today, I decided to make up the second box, to go with the Lentils with Rosemary and Ham I've got simmering in the kitchen. And, considering the medical tenor of March, I virtuously decided to toss in a heaping spoonful of Flaxseed Meal. 'Cause it's so good for me and all. And if I'm shoveling down an entire pan of cornbread for lunch, my health is obviously my first priority.

Word of caution, bloggers. Don't. I don't know what happens when flax meal usually hits the side of a hot pan, but it smells like I decided to saute a peck of plastic bags with a couple of pounds of rubber bands. My second favorite thing about corn bread - after the taste, of course - is the way the whole house smells like caramel corn after you open the oven. My house smells like the inside of an ace bandage your teenage son left on his ankle - without bathing - the entire time he was away at summer camp.

And the usually golden yellow bread has developed a strange greyish tan tinge, more at home in a soup pot than a baked good. At least not in one that hasn't been at the bottom of a dumpster for a week.

Which makes the fact that I just finished off the last piece a little hard to explain, even to myself.


At 1:08 PM, April 13, 2007, Blogger Rice said...

Enjoy reading your blog! Keep on blogging.

At 3:44 AM, April 18, 2007, Blogger panda said...

Thanks and welcome!

I'm hoping to get a little more time to hang out on the blogs now that hiatus is upon us.

Appreciate the kind words!


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