Dennis’ Re-Sanctified Cornbread Recipe
2 cups Stoneground Cornmeal
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
3 large Eggs
2 cups of Buttermilk
3 Tbs Sriracha sauce
1 can of Rotel
1 Tbs minced Garlic
1 cup Vidalia Onions
8 oz Smoked Bacon Bits and Ends
2 Tbs Bacon grease
Pre-Heat Cast-Iron Skillet and Oven at 450 degrees
Mix Cornmeal, Baking Powder, Baking Soda and Salt
Blend Buttermilk with Sriracha sauce
Saute onions and Garlic
Cook and then crumble Bacon
Mix everything together including bacon grease
Oil pan with Bacon grease
Pour complete mixture into pre-heated skillet
Bake for approximately 25 minutes
Eat three slices and you will be re-sanctified, eat six and you'll never backslide again.
One of my vexing habits is collecting ideas on what I believe is right and true. Friends are patient with these declarations, and in their gentle ways, try to teach me the difference between wisdom and dogma. I’m still learning how to discern between life-giving and more narrow ways of thinking. I’ve gathered bits of knowledge that form my list of truths. Here is an example:
This last bit, “Food is medicine,” is something I tangibly experienced on my first trip to China. Countless meals involved foods my Chinese friends did not know the English word for. The only translation they could offer was medicine. Sometimes I could tell the food was some kind of fungi or the obvious shape of garlic and ginger. These edibles are a staple in most Chinese dishes. I haven’t formally researched the Chinese concept of health and medicine; I only know my experience of eating with people in multiple provinces where each meal is a medicinal feast. Whether being treated to an elaborate banquet in a fancy hotel or huddling around a rickety table high up in the mountains, I experienced each meal with sensory delight and chock full of ingredients they called medicine. It was delicious, flavorful food.
The rare occasions where I stayed in a western hotel in China and was served western food felt like culinary torture. I didn’t want the yucky white flour soupy pancakes. I wanted my bubbling dish of spicy peppers, heaps of garlic, and roasted chicken. Give me lotus roots and wasp larvae any day over mushy pasta.
My month of eating medicine each day changed my food paradigm and my body. My clothes loosened, which was a mystery because I had filled my belly every day of my trip. I learned that each time I said the Mandarin word for “delicious” more food miraculously appeared. I ate and ate and drank pints of earthy green tea. I realized that I hadn’t been eating my southern staples of refined sugar, coffee, white flour, and processed foods. I wondered what it would be like to continue eating as if I were in China. This birthed what became known in my family as the China Diet. I don’t like the word, diet, because it connotes making a significant change only for a short period of time. It feels like a false promise glorified by a short-term band-aid. Instead, my direct experience was changing the way I looked at food and food choices over time. I cut out alcohol, caffeine, all processed foods, white flour, most dairy, and refined sugar. I lost more weight and felt like I had finally discovered a sustainable way of eating and being healthy. Plus, I enjoyed sharing this story with anyone who would listen. Come hear the gospel according to Joanna.
On one occasion I was at a local food banquet in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I had driven a dozen of the AmeriCorps members serving at the nonprofit I was working for on Petit Jean Mountain just outside Little Rock. We were attending a well known southern sustainable agriculture conference and soaking up all of the workshops, stories, and emerging social networks. It’s an exciting time to be a sustainable farmer in the South. At the banquet, a striking young woman from Brazil joined our table. Our conversation eventually led to food, and I shared with her my experience in China and the radical shift I made in how I think of food and how I eat. She listened intently, then pausing for a few seconds, she responded, “You know, I don’t think I could do what you’re doing. I would feel sadness in my heart. I would miss the foods from my family traditions and my culture. It would hurt too much to give up these experiences.”