At Last….(insert Etta James singing soulfully)

Once there was a girl who bought a really big, intimidating cook book.  By a big wig chef.  Who had a big, uber-skilled pastry chef at his big, fancy-shmansy bakery.  Then there was a heat wave and equipment failure and a delay-of-game by her own invention of ginger-peach ice cream sandwiches.  Then, she manned-up (as it were) and began the baking.  She broke out the scale (genius!)


and then sat staring at the Big Intimidating Book thinking “Uhhhh, what do I bake first?”.  She decided one summer night that fried chicken was in order, in which case cornbread was in order, in which case there was no better place to start than there.


And you know what?  There was in fact a recipe for cornbread in the BIB (Big Intimidating Book).  And you know what?  The batter was supposed to rest “overnight”.  And you know what?  It was 9 am and the girl reasoned that since she only slept for 6 hours a night, then 9 am to 5 pm could certainly more than qualify as “overnight” resting.  So she weighed ingredients and she rested her batter and she thought all day about cornbread and then she baked it (while frying chicken and drinking a cocktail).


And you know what?  The well-measured-long-anticipated-from-a-fancy-shmansy-pastry-baker-guy-cornbread WAS NOT PERFECT!.  At first the girl stood dumbfounded.  This was supposed to be the holy grail of baked goods.  There was weighing of ingredients and careful folding of corn kernels.  The girl just knew it must be because she used 1% milk instead of whole; that she used coarse ground cornmeal instead of fine; that she made it in (gasp!) a 9×13 pan instead of muffin tins!  But alas, the crowd gathered disagreed and declared it tremendous.  The girl herself had to admit the crumb was superb, the texture fluffy but with brawn, the corn providing juicy pops of flavor.  And there it was: Mel baked Bouchon.  And it was not scary or too big.  It was fine and delicious and imperfect and it was an outstanding partner to her fried chicken.



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