Happy Holidays, everyone!
I'm back after one of my all-too-frequent hiatuses. I finished up my photography class two weeks back and then dived into holiday prep. For my final theme-based project I did a series of images of a "secret" room in my house, a room that was probably used by farmhands long ago and did not have a direct connection to the main house. When the house was remodeled some years ago, the entrance was closed, thus sealing the room until some enterprising past person (not me, but probably my dad and his brother) punched a hole through the back of a closet into the room. It was used as a playroom by children, in the same way that an unexplored attic becomes a playroom, where they wrote things like "Keep out" and "Danger" on the walls. The plaster is thin on these walls, and time has darkened the plaster where the laths press up behind them so that the walls look striped white and grey. I am not making this stuff up.
No more classes for quite a while. I promised Joe. Working and attending class and doing homework and trying to run a blog... It's been busy. That should leave me plenty of time for cooking, right? That's my hope, anyway. My mother gave me copies of my grandmother's prized cookie recipes. They were, apparently, the talk of the town in her day. I am so looking forward to giving those a try.
What do you cook when you're busy and tired from work and don't have a lot of time to experiment with something new? These days for me that means a lot of dishes from Dunlop's Land of Plenty, some of which I've learned to prepare quite quickly, or perhaps something from Bitman's How to Cook Everything.
On the busiest, most tired of days, it means whole-wheat and pecan pancakes with breakfast sausages or bacon or scrambled eggs and some fruit on the side. I have a soft spot for eating breakfast at dinner time. If I think ahead a bit, I'll prepare some cornmeal mush to fry up the next night. Fried slices of cornmeal mush were a favorite treat of mine as a kid. Back in college, I got some weird looks from my friends when I mention this. Depression food? Well, yes, I guess so, but I don't find anything depressing in what bascially amounts to fried slices of polenta. Now I just have to figure out how to make it well. I've tried several recipes, but it always ends up watery, with the slices threatening to fall apart before I get them floured and fried up. Taste just fine (fried polenta slices in butter with syrup, how could it not?), but could be firmer. Onward I go in my quest for the perfect Fried Cornmeal Mush.