Cornbread has developed a regional connotation in North America: the mere mention of the dish awakens borrowed images of the American south. I resent this, because I know that my dad ate cornbread growing up in eastern Ontario. They called it johnnycake, which is a very old, eastern North American term derived (we think) from “journey cake,” referring to the dry bread’s portability.
The bulk of the transcendent cornmeal we made this fall was baked into cornbread and consumed with butter and maple syrup. Below is my go-to recipe. It makes a moist bread (mostly on account of the several types of fat in the recipe: full-fat milk and buttermilk, sour cream, canola oil…) with a fine texture and … Continue reading.
My bid for Bartlett’s: “Culinary invention has two mothers: scarcity and excess.”
I think everybody understands how scarcity can encourage adventurous eating. We often say that the first man to eat a lobster, or an oyster, was a brave one, indeed. But it’s when you find yourself with an overwhelming surfeit of food that you can start doing really interesting things. The first person to press grapes to make wine must have had a lot of grapes, more than he could have eaten before they started rotting. And the first person to distill wine to make brandy must have had an awful lot of awful wine.
I wrote earlier in the fall of our bountiful corn harvest, and of … Continue reading.
It’s always confused me that Americans call back bacon “Canadian bacon,” when it’s much more associated with Britain than Canada. To my knowledge the only uniquely Canadian form of bacon is peameal bacon: cured pork loin rolled in ground split peas, which keeps the surface of the meat dry and inhibits microbial growth. Sometime over the past century cornmeal has taken the place of peameal, but the name hasn’t changed.
This week I made two forms of peameal bacon: the contemporary favourite – lean, centre-cut pork loin, fat trimmed down, brined and rolled in cornmeal – and a rustic recontruction, inspired by the fantastic book The Art of Living According to Joe Beef. I left an inch or two … Continue reading.