02 October 2007

I recommend CORNBREAD (and Jeremy Jackson)

I read Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant last weekend. There are some great essays in the collection. I especially enjoyed the contributions from Steve Almond (so far, Steve has never done me wrong), Ann Patchett, Laurie Colwin, Jeremy Jackson, and the woman who wrote about being an asparagus superhero (can't remember her name). One of the recurring themes was that when people eat alone, they eat the same things again and again. Because they can. They like it. I completely understand this. Sometimes I wake up in the morning, feeling so pleased with my life, because I can eat my favorite potato salad every day for every meal that week and no one will complain or tell their teachers who would then have my home investigated by social services because of it.

One of my favorite essays was by Jeremy Jackson. I think I developed a little bit of a crush on Jeremy Jackson when I was reading his essay about black beans and cornbread, even though he looks like he's about 12-years-0ld. And I think I can only refer to him by both names. Jeremy Jackson. I looked him up, and it turns out that Jeremy Jackson's pen name is Alex Bradley, and I've read his YA novel, 24 Girls in 7 Days. It's a mildly popular book in our library. I think it's okay. Jeremy Jackson's nonfiction writing is wonderful, though. As soon as I read his essay, I ordered one of his cookbooks, The Cornbread Book: A Love Story with Recipes for the library (ahhhh, sweet 600 buying power). It won a James Beard Award, so I feel justified.

Also inspired by Jeremy Jackson's essay, I made a pan of cornbread to go with my lentil soup this weekend. (There are only two ways I enjoy eating lentils--cooked up with sausage and rosemary or in the soup I made Saturday. In high school, I requested that my mom never make lentils on Mondays, because I couldn't handle eating a food so closely related to dirt on a day that was already a challenge for me.) Delightful. I didn't have enough cornmeal, so my cornbread had more flour than it was supposed to, which gave it an unexpectedly springy, creamy texture. I kind of grooved on it. Very comforting on a cold day.


emily said...

Per your recommendation, I just spent some quality time looking up Jeremy Jackson on ye olde Internet. I think you should find him, meet him, and date him (I won't commit you to marriage just yet).

I'm very intrigued by the cornbread book and will now proceed to hunt it down in my county's library system.

However, the book I'm most looking forward to finding is "Desserts that have killed better men than me." How could that not be great?

Rebekah said...

I have a love/hate thing with lentils, as you know. I made the mistake of making a crockpot full of lentil soup a month ago. That was tough to get through, let me tell you. I eventually added some Italian sausage and spinach to the mix. It helped, but those were still dark days. In the midst of them I did some lentil research and found out what an amazing food source it is, so that made me feel a little guilty about turning my nose up at them. One of the oldest cultivated crops in the world? Chock-full of more protein than most other vegetables? My favorite bit of research that I came across said that lentils have a distinctive 'earthy' taste. That's a nice way of say they taste and look like dirt. All that glitters is not gold I guess.

MP said...

I love corn bread too, and since you wrote this I have been dying to make some. I finally did last night and dipped it in my chili. Although the main purpose was to have it with honey-butter so I promptly ate two large pieces for dessert!

Kirsten said...

you are right Jeremy Jackson, a.k.a Alex Bradley, does look like he is 12 years old. But if the man child can make cornbread he is alright in my book.

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