2005 seems like only yesterday.
It’s wild to look back and see how much can change in what feels like such a short time. I proposed to Mackie exactly one year ago, and even since then so much has happened. For our first New Years together, we’re celebrating the old school Southern way. Collards for health, hoppin’ John for wealth, and cornbread because it’s delicious.
We’ve been pretty healthy this year. Our adopted son cost us a little money when we first got him, but even he’s stayed healthy since then. We’ve known too many family and friends who have battled health problems this year…
We definitely don’t have much in the wealth department, but we have more than we need. We both have jobs we like, and besides, being broke when you’re first married is a right of passage. Some of our best adventures have been the cheapest ones. But I won’t act like joy is in parsimony – some of our best adventures have seriously contributed to our broke-ness.
What else could you really want? We’re healthy, we’ve got a few dollars in our pockets, a sweet dog, and I’m spending every day with my best friend. I’m looking forward to the changes bound to occur in 2010.
Now a New Years resolution I’m leaving you with is to appreciate all things Southern and awesome. I’ll help you out by giving you this cornbread recipe from Edna Lewis, who most consider to be queen of classic Southern cooking. Make it, you’ll be happier for it.
Adapted from Edna Lewis – The Gift of Southern Cooking
1 1/2 cups white cornmeal (preferably fine ground)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 strips bacon or fatback (or 2 tablespoons butter)
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Mix the cornmeal, salt, and baking powder together in a bowl. Stir the milk and butter into the beaten eggs and pour over the dry ingredients, stirring to make a smooth glossy batter.
Cut the bacon into pieces and fry in a cast iron skillet (or bake in a baking dish) until the fat is rendered and bacon is crisp. Remove the bacon and swirl the pan to coat with the remaining grease. Pour the batter into the heated pan and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until cornbread is golden brown and crusty on top and pulls away from the sides of the skillet.
Remove the skillet from the oven and turn out onto a plate. Allow the cornbread to cool for 5 minutes before slicing into wedges. Serve hot with butter, jelly, honey, or applebutter.
Happy New Year y’all.