This is one of those books that slipped through the cracks and wound up in my kitchen bookcase NOT having been read by yours truly though I'd promised myself awhile back, to do so. After all, I do enjoy 'the idea' of cornbread and I always enjoy reading about food. Well, the other day I glanced over at the bookshelf - thought why not? - plopped down on the sofa and read this in one sitting.
THE CORNBREAD BOOK (2003) is a fun, cheerful read. You breeze through it, become a convert to the charms of cornbread (if your weren't a fan already), then spend an inordinate amount of time contemplating, trying and enjoying the recipes. (RESEARCH!) Recipes which, by the way, look fairly easy to make.
Author Jeremy Jackson must be the world's biggest cornbread devotee and his ardor shows in this wittily written little book.
From the introduction:
The first thing I'm going to do with this book is make conrbread one word, once and for all. It deserves that much. After all, pancake is one word. So is doorknob. And telemarketer. Telemarketer! Though a few cookbooks and dictionaries do use cornbread as a single word, they are a lonely minority. I won't be satisfied until Merriam-Webster takes note.
The second thing I want to do with this book is to have cornbread named the official bread of the United States of America. It should also be the unofficial bread. For example, it should be on all fast food menus. And presidents should choke on cornbread, not pretzels. Also, all newly sworn-in citizens should receive a free piece of cornbread with a little toothpick American flag in it. And when you go vote you should get a piece of cornbread as a reward. And when you lick the back of a stamp, it should taste like cornbread, with or without butter, your choice.
I like Jeremy Jackson's style and his devotion to a culinary cause.
Who even knew that the USA had an 'official' bread?
The author goes on to sketch the probable reasons for his love of cornbread in a quick and amusing bio sketch which involves his mother allowing him to play in a batch of dry cornmeal when he was a toddler in Missouri. Read the book you'll find out why.
He also gives us some corn-as-a-grain history in this country as well as Europe. All written in the same wry amusing voice. Jeremy Jackson wants us to convert but appears slightly indulgent of our cornbread ignorance. I've never thought about cornbread in this way before, if I thought about it at all. I have to say that it all sounds very educational and completely delicious.
I usually have cornbread once or twice a year in the colder months and I've always vaguely wanted a recipe for corn pancakes - corn cakes - having tasted these in a restaurant once upon a time. And a good recipe for corn fritters would not be amiss.
Well, now I have that and more. Jeremy Jackson's enthusiasm is catching. I feel a conversion coming on.
This book is a total delight and I can't wait to try some of the recipes. Most especially when the cool weather finally comes around again. Forgive me, Jeremy, but it's just too hot right now for much cooking.
A few of the recipes included in THE CORNBREAD BOOK :
Three Peppery Cornbreads
Three Peppery Cornbreads