Thursday, June 2, 2011

Well, shut mah MOUTH!

I hate eating my words. If you know me, you are well aware....I am stubborn to a fault, and will defend myself ridiculously even if I'm the only one that sees the logic in my argument - if I think I'm right, you will have to play back the tape showing me otherwise to get me to cave. But I can admit when I'm wrong, even if it's through gritted teeth and an insincere smile - just don't say "I told you so" unless you want to eat only what you can suck through a straw until your new dental implants are ready.

A surprise call from my daughter in Georgia asking if we wanted to go to Disney world in a couple weeks kick-started our first real vacation in 7 years...I say if you don't fly somewhere or spend at least a full week away from home you're not on vacation, you're just hiding from work. After some discussion, we decided instead to fly to their home in Georgia so we could help get their house ready to put on the market, and next year we'll all go to Disney world from Oregon. That gives me a year to convince her that my grandson would much rather go to Hawaii or someplace where there are not a billion screaming kids and they don't have pay slots on the water fountains and a snickers bar is a hundred dollars. So off we headed to 10 fun-filled days of sweating in the humidity and heat of the land of peaches, peanuts, Baptist churches, Dollar Stores and Waffle Houses.

Since it was "vacation", we thought we would take a couple days from the honey-do list and go see the sights on the other side of our world, and set off for Savannah - being close to the ocean always appeals to me, and since even on the hottest days of the year in Oregon you still have to wear a bunny suit on the beach, I figured that it would be neato to go to one that was actually hot. And hot it was - 88 was smokin, as were my bare feet on sand that was near melting point. The water was disturbingly warm, like a bath but with crabs and jellyfish and Jaws lurking under every swell - but it was the only way to cool off, so I put my brave hat on and it was AWESOME! Handsome stranger took a photo of me coming back to his shady rest, and luckily for him it was a fair distance so I did not rip off his shutter finger and fling it to the great one needs to see that except people on a beach I will never run into again.

The second day we went into Savannah proper, and took a trolley tour of the towns 24 town squares. Now the trolley's have no air to afford you the full effect of the exhaust filled, 100 degree blast furnace with 90% humidity. LORDY it was hot! Near the end, we got off and walked a block to The Lady & Son's restaurant, because if you're in the South and you want to experience Southern cooking, Paula Deen jumps out from every corner holding a plate of some butter and cream infused heart-stopper and invites y'all to sit a spell until the button on your pants threatens to escape it's thread shackles and take a nearby fellow tourist's eye out. 3 floors and no wait (it was midway between lunch and dinner), and we were seated at a table for 5 that was neatly set with lace doilies at every place. I felt a disturbance in the Weight Watchers force, and when I saw "Buffet" on the menu, all bets were off.

I do not have cable, so I visit those who do and find ways to get them to turn to the Food Network to watch ANYTHING....they are more obstinate on Superbowl Sunday, but I usually get my way. One such time I watched my first Paula Deen show, and was APPALLED....the woman was a FRAUD. She made appetizers on the grill using Boboli Pizza crust, canned sauce, and SHUT THE FRONT DOOR.....BISQUICK. A Southerner using bisquick is worse than an Oregonian drinking a Coors with his free range alligator and hazelnut pesto's a sin against nature. From that point on, Paula was my own personal whipping girl - an example of what is wrong with the explosion of cooking shows that offer quick and uninspired recipes to those who think they don't have time to cook REAL food, and will never try anything from "scratch" because Paula has an easier way. BAH!

So yeah, the buffet. I limited myself to one plate, one time through, and one salad plate, but it mattered not....the first thing they do after they take your drink order is to bring you a plate with a hoe cake and a garlic butter biscuit. I'm like "Pfft...probly bisquick", then promptly ate my hoecake and thought about throwing a dollar on the floor to distract Ethan so I could snag his too. When butter drips down your fingers and you haven't put any on it, you KNOW you're in trouble. Off to the buffet, where I judiciously took only things I wanted to try, and no more than a very reasonable amount of each. My choices were touching each other, but not all up in each others bizness...I did good (see pic above). Then a salad, and altho it was quite healthy, drowning it in what appeared to be the most amazing blue cheese dressing was not so much.

The chicken fried steak was incredible, the blue cheese dressing made me want to fill up my purse with it, but someday, if my dream comes true, I would like to compete in a contest where I am dunked in a vat of Paula's cream corn and have to eat my way out. I looked up the recipe online, and sure enough....butter and heavy cream were the supporting players....I didn't know it was corn until I pointed at it on my plate and asked the waiter through a mouthful WHAT hot, fine mess that was I was eating. I'm pretty sure my family will ask for two tables when they eat with me from now daughter took pictures, and in every one my arms were blurs, my mouth in varying stages of shoveling, chewing, and dribbling goodness. (I fired her as the official photographer for the rest of the day)

So, in front of the world (OK, my small but merry band of blog followers), I would like to officially apologize to Paula for calling her a fraud. She can whip me up a batch of cream corn anytime, and if she also throws in some fried green tomatoes with vidalia onion relish, I will kiss her grits. And in her honor, I am offering up a very special recipe that I invented, one for sweet cornbread that is so good I thought about keeping it all to myself, but because of Paula, decided to share. And it has cornbread mix in it....not EVERYTHING has to be from scratch....

Best Damn Cornbread EVER

1 C. uncooked cornmeal
2 C. flour
1 C. corn muffin mix (I use bulk, Jiffy or Krusteaz would work fine)
1-1/3 C. sugar
2 T. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
4 eggs
1/3 C. butter, melted
2/3 C. oil
1 C. buttermilk
1 C. milk
1 C. frozen corn, divided

Preheat oven to 350. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl, add eggs, butter, oil, buttermilk and milk and mix just until dry ingredients are mostly incorporated (it should still be lumpy). Put half the corn in a blender or food processor and process until a paste, add that and other half of corn to batter and mix just until blended. Pour into greased 9x13 pan and bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

The first time I made this, it took several days before I could no longer stand seeing it on the counter and threw the rest in the freezer. I told my son if he wanted it, he would have to thaw it out and he gave me such a look...."Why in the freezer??" I told him "Because if I have to take it out of the freezer and thaw it out in the microwave, I will have to think about my poor decision long enough to change my mind." A few weeks later I pawned it off to my niece, who didn't really want it but didn't want to be rude and took it home. Her mom emailed me the next day and said they HAD to have the recipe....when I say Best Damn about anything, do not doubt me....enjoy, all y'all!

1 comment:

  1. Shari, I'm howling. I'm FOTFLOL. I wish I could put a wee moving icon here of me on my back, stomping my feet on the floor and holding my gut as I start to breathe again.