"To finish the moment, to find the journey’s end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, is wisdom....Since our office is with moments, let us husband them."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, December 16, 2007

What is cornbread?

On my last night and dinner with my host family I offered to cook. The menu was simple and reflected my longing to be home in the blizzard. Chili and cornbread. In general, I hate cooking in a foreign place, which includes someone else's kitchen, let alone a foreign country. There are just too many challenges associated with it.

And as expected, I ran into those challenges today. In reality, the chili was a relatively smooth process, minus being short on tomato sauce and having to substitute tomato soup. In the end it turned out just fine. However, the same can't be said about the cornbread. When I first thought of this menu I okayed it with my host dad regarding the main ingredients. Its worthless to plan on making chili and cornbread if you can't get chili beans or corn meal. He assured me they had everything.

Well, on Saturday when we went to the grocery store (2 in fact) there was no corn meal to be found. Instead, I had to substitute corn starch. Couple that with the fact that my host family owns zero measuring devices and baking the bread became quite the event. Having to guess out oil is not easy, and I failed. Way too much oil. Still, after baking for about 25 minutes I was left with a solid, kind of yellow looking bread. Once I tasted it though, I knew it had failed. Not miserably, but still a failure. It was served anyways and my concoction was saved by ignorance.

No one in my host family had eaten cornbread before, so they had no idea what to expect. This worked out perfectly, as they loved my creation. And the entire meal was a big hit. Their last memory of me can be my success in the kitchen, that is until they go back to the US, have real cornbread, and wonder what it was I made for them.

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