People, your voluminous and kind-hearted responses this week have astounded us. My goodness, the comments on our announcement of Little Bean have us choked up, every day. It’s marvelous to feel like we’re a community, even in this strange world connected by our computers. This little one (who is kicking and getting bigger every day, pronounced by the obstetrician today to be thriving. The whoosh-whoosh heartbeat through the Doppler only made us grin harder) will be born with a huge cheering section waiting for his or her arrival. How many of us is that lucky?
So thank you.
But just as astounding (and far more useful for cooking, really) is the amazing outpouring of suggestions and cooking ideas for Savoy cabbage. I was hoping you might like this idea for a Monday ingredient spotlight, but was not prepared for the rush of enticing-sounding ideas. Goodness, people! I bought another huge Savoy on Saturday, just to try out some of your suggestions. You certainly inspired me.
Let’s try another one, shall we?
This is a bowl of Anson Mills cornmeal (in this case, it’s ground for polenta). I have only recently started eating this extraordinary cornmeal, milled on demand before it is shipped to each customer. They grow heirloom breeds of corn, buckweat, rice, and wheat, and they do it all organically. The Chef loves this stuff, and so do I.
Now, you may have noticed that Anson Mills does work with wheat in its South Carolina plant. That could give us gluten-free folks some pause. But never fear. I called Anson Mills a few weeks ago, to see if I could really eat this cornmeal. When the man at customer service picked up the phone, not only did he know what eating gluten-free meant without my explaining, but he said that the corn, rice, and buckwheat products are milled and handled in a completely separate room than the wheat products. They also test the air, to make sure that nothing creeps in. That’s good enough for me. (And I’m being especially careful, now that I’m pregnant.)
You see, not all cornmeal is gluten-free. The dear folks at Bob’s Red Mill make some of the best gluten-free flours in the world, in a dedicated gluten-free facility. But their cornmeal (and their masa harina) is manufactured in the other room, the one with all the gluten. We really need to look at every commercially-processed cornmeal, carefully.
(If you haven’t tried it yet, you should splurge and buy some Moretti polenta, which is made in the Lombardy region of Italy. Those folks know what they are doing.)
So this cornmeal is rather special, for a variety of reasons. But cornmeal itself is a treasure.
When I was little, one of my favorite breakfasts was my mom’s cornmeal mush. She was born with a Pennsylvania Dutch background. (Until I was much older, I thought that everyone said “read off the table” when it was time to clear the dishes.) That cornmeal mush must be from that rich history. She made something close to polenta the night before, spread it out in a casserole dish, and let it chill overnight. In the morning, she cut thick wedges of the sunny yellow stuff, put it on the electric griddle, and slathered the hot mush in Aunt Jemima syrup. Oh, I couldn’t get enough, especially when bacon slices swam in the syrup pool.
Actually, I haven’t had any in awhile. Might be time.
So the question is now in your hands. What do you like to do with cornmeal?