Sunday, October 02, 2011

I See Dead People Food

Isn't this pretty? It's about as pretty as a kooky '50s apron, all colorful and well-loved.
I think the corn loaf pictured here probably dates back to the 50s or earlier. Pat Fusco wrote a, well, I wouldn't call it irreverent, but she wrote a kickass story for the Pacific Sun on funeral food! In certain regions of the country, funeral food (the covered dishes you bring to a grieving family) can be quite competitive. Prettiest, most nourishing, like that.
Makes me suspect scenarios like, "Sorry about your uncle, but wait till you try my Chocolate-Caramel Maple Doodles. When you're ready, hon. I know it's hard."
I couldn't resist this multicolored pan of comfort food from Pat's article. We had everything on hand except for the evaporated milk. We followed the recipe exactly. It seemed a bit odd to me, to be including a little dab of sour cream in there, when you're already flavoring it strongly with cheese. And why add water and evaporated milk? You could just use milk, unless the recipe is from the old ice box days and there was no more ice so the milk went bad, but wait. Where were you storing the sour cream? So it was a little nutty, but fun to try. The minute we pulled it out of the oven, we were all over it like starving zombies. Eat, eat. Snorf.
It was really tasty -- so many flavors -- but horrifyingly filling. (We ate a lot.) Toward the end of our snorfing, we realized this was a dense, nutrient-rich thing, and that, sadly, some of the cornmeal grains remained raw and gritty.
Cranky said, "Would you make this again?"
I said, "Over my dead body."
We wrapped up the leftovers for another day. And the darned thing came back to life!
Think about it. If you're taking this corn loaf to a bereaved family, they are certainly not eating it hot out of the oven, as we did. In fact, it might spend a night or two in the fridge, benefitting from moisturizing treatments.
The recipe works. If you treat it as funeral food.

25 comments:

cookiecrumb said...

I HAVE NOT PLANKED I WILL NOT PLANK

cookiecrumb said...

I know the link is broken. You should go check out the Pacific Sun yourself. I'm thrilled we have such a smart alternative weekly here.

kudzu said...

Thanks for the shout-out, and the enthusiasm for the recipe. Sorry about the gritty element in your rendition (coarse-grained cornmeal, maybe?).

It does produce a heap of corn pudding. All the better to feed you with, my dears.

kudzu said...

PS Try it warmed over at breakfast, with a side of bacon. And maybe sliced tomatoes.

Ms Brown Mouse said...

So, the wait gave the corn meal time to soften? Excellent.

namastenancy said...

I thought you were showing us food with mold on it, food that would kill you if you ate it. Obviously I was wrong because you and Cranky are very much alive. Food for the dead - probably somebody has written a book on that. Lutherans tend to bring sweets, lots and lots of sweets. Maybe there's something about all that sugar?

Chilebrown said...

This recipe sounds pretty darn tasty. Condensed milk is way sweeter than fresh and it just adds another dimension.

I would make this recipe but I am to lazy to look it up as you are to fix your link.

cookiecrumb said...

Kudzu: We didn't think all the batter was going to fit in a loaf pan, and buttered a tiny pan for the overage. But it fit. I think that might have been coarse cornmeal, yes. Loved it.
Warmed up for breakfast = divine!

Mouse: Yes, time is one of the ingredients. Har!

Nancy: The only funeral food I've ever had was Smithfield ham, cooked and ready to snack on. What a godsend.

Chilebrown: I know, I love the flavor of condensed milk; it's like babyfood. Sorry about the missing recipe; arrgh. I'll go get it for you.
http://www.pacificsun.com/story.php?story_id=4919

Southern Cookie said...

Wow, I'd have loved to get a pan of corn pudding! Instead I ended up with my grandmother's sauerkraut salad. In theory, the sweet & sour mixture sounded pretty good, and I do like sauerkraut. Ok, I'll try it. But the result was downright frightening! The sad part of it is that I ended up finding the recipe for this concoction in a hilarious "southern" cookbook on my friend's shelf called White Trash Cooking. I choked on my wine when I came across it... which only proves that salad is only for dead people. If you (sadly) get it, be afraid... be VERY afraid.

cookiecrumb said...

Southern Cookie: I would probably try sauerkraut salad. I have the White Trash Cookbook!
But, yeah, give this corn loaf a try. Really easy, and it takes care of so many needs.

SimplyStated said...

I cannot even begin to explain my initial thought on the headline and the photo. The whole planking thing is just creepy and was made more so by the "I see dead people" quote.

Then I wasn't sure what type of food was happening in the pic and then you started talking about funeral food....

I was very scared for you for about 15 seconds...then I noticed the words corn, cheese, milk and I could breathe again.

I knew you were okay.

Don't ever scare me like that again...

cookiecrumb said...

Simply: Oh, so sorry! (You are just toying with me.)
I shoulda saved this post for Halloween.

kudzu said...

A note to Chilebrown (and many others who make this mistake): the recipe calls for evaporated milk (i.e., Pet brand), not condensed milk, which is thick and sweetened.

And to Cookie: many Southern cooks use a finer grade of cornmeal in their cooking, often white vs. yellow. That would eliminate the initial grittiness. But, as you point out, the resting period takes care of it, too.

cookiecrumb said...

Kudzu: Thanks for the important distinction between evaporated and condensed. I think Chilebrown knows. (That Eagle Brand stuff... Man, it's almost dulce de leche.)
I'm especially grateful for the cornmeal enlightenment. We used grainy, macho, polenta-type stuff. A finer grind would have made a more delicate loaf, and that sounds good.

Zoomie said...

What do you have against planking?

cookiecrumb said...

Zoomie: Tragically hip, dorkish, physical harm.
(Now I wonder if you know what planking is.)
http://lmgtfy.com/

Zoomie said...

As usual, you are an education in popular culture for me.

cookiecrumb said...

Zoomie: I hope you liked that. It was fun for me, and you are my play pal.

HAZEL said...

I just found your blog...you live up to your own description...definitely mad! But that is how I like my bloggers! I will be back.

cookiecrumb said...

Howdy, Hazel! Glad to see you. Come on back, we have fun here. :)

Zoomie said...

Too tedious to explain.

namastenancy said...

Re Kudzu's comment about corn meal- get water ground cornmeal if you can. The grain is almost as fine as flour but with a slight grittiness to the texture that makes it all the more interesting.

cookiecrumb said...

Nancy: Oh, thanks a million. I'm sure I can find that. Bob's Red Mill, or Amazon at worst... :)
Thank god you're a country girl.

Liza said...

Mmm..this looks delicious. Anything with the word, sharp cheese, automatically has my attention. I find a lot of quick breads taste better the second day. Something about sitting allows them to absorb more moisture.

cookiecrumb said...

Liza: Sharp cheese is a Flavor! Thanks for stopping by.