It's popular these days to talk about how we've got love all wrong, and with only two naive years of marriage in my repertoire of human experience, I probably don't have much of it right.
Somehow, the simplest parts—friendship, kindness, ease—can quickly become complicated, sour, passive... silent. But on this February weekend, when the world either celebrates or scoffs at romance, I am dedicated to celebrating the days when friendship and kindness reign, comfortable and easy like a pan of hot cornbread.
Of course marriage is made up of millions of tiny choices to be kind when we feel like being grumpy, or worse—silent, but we miss the joyful and mystical heartbeat of marriage when we stop believing marriage is meant be a joy and a comfort. Discipline to be kind leads to something deeper than just discipline. Marriage is a deliberate gift from the giver of all things, and no matter what the trending headline of the week says, I don't think we are capable of marring the wrong person, even in all our incompatibilities.
The person I find myself married to is my right person, and there's nobody else I'd rather binge watch Netflix and eat big bowls of soup and cornbread with. Comfortable, easy, warm, and kind.
skillet cornbread :: stoneground cornmeal, maple, buttermilk
Makes an 8-inch skillet full, about 6 generous slices
This recipe comes straight from Alice Water's The Art of Simple Food with a few minor tweaks to suite my cornbread taste. And truly, it's the best cornbread I've ever had. Deeply flavorful, moist, gently sweet, and chewy. As Chase is inclined to do with foods he loves, he compares the crumb to a biscuit. It's the only cornbread recipe you'll ever need.
What you'll need:
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 T maple syrup, more to taste
4 T butter, melted
Preheat oven to 425 degrees, and put an 8-inch cast iron skillet in the oven while it's preheating.
Whisk dry ingredients until well combined. Measure buttermilk into a large measuring cup and crack egg into it. Add maple syrup, and whisk to combine. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the buttermilk mixture in all at once. Stir until just combined. Add butter and gently fold to incorporate. If the batter seems tough and dry, add more buttermilk a splash at time. It will be a fluffier, less runny batter than cornbread from a mix, so don't be worried if it seems thick.
When the oven is preheated, remove the cast iron skillet and pour the batter into the hot skillet. Enjoy the satisfying sizzle, and return the pan to the oven to bake for 20 minutes. At 12 minutes, check to see how the cornbread is browning. Consider covering it with tin foil for the final 8 minutes if needed.
Best served hot, fresh from the oven, but it will keep for a couple of days in an airtight container. To reheat, wrap the cornbread in tin foil and warm in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes or so.