It's as if she can see me struggling with Hawthorne's House of Seven Gables. Kellie, the blogger, says "reading books that make you yawn is a painful delay on the way to that something beautiful being held in your hands."
Ha! I'm not even yawning over Hawthorne. I'm just not picking it up very often. I have things to do, be it pulling lint out of my shirt pockets, or tightening the screw on the piano's music stand, or counting the vowels in the newspaper headlines.
Why do I stick with it? Well, I read people like George Will who, while making their point about some ill-considered law working its way through Congress, quote from books like 1984, or bring up a character from Lolita. And I think, Why does everybody but me know what he's talking about?
Thus, we struggle along with Seven Gables, hoping we'll catch up with these Ivy League-educated writers. Maybe I'll acquire a taste for the kinds of books Yalies sit around and discuss.
Speaking of acquired tastes, I never cared for cornbread. Or at least I didn't until I tasted this stuff:
I pretty sure they snuck a respectable amount of sugar into their mix. But who always has a box of Jiffy in their pantry? Not me.
So I felt pretty lucky to open a newspaper one day and find:
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 TB baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup melted butter
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
1 TB milk
Butter bottom and sides of 9-inch round cake pan. Preheat oven to 350'.
In a large bowl, stir together cornmeal, flour, salt, baking powder and sugar.
In another bowl, beat together eggs, oil, melted and cooled butter, evaporated milk and milk until thoroughly blended. Pour mixture into cornmeal mixture and stir until all is smooth. Do not overbeat.
Spoon into prepared pan. Bake in preheated over 25 to 30 minutes or until the top is golden and a pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let cool 5 to 10 minutes before removing from the pan and slicing into wedges. Cover and refrigerate leftovers. Rewarm in a 350-degree oven. Makes 8 wedges, 330 calories each.
Comes pretty close to Jiffy's.
OK, now, let's gird up and get done with Hawthorne. We have other books waiting in the wings. They sound a lot like horses pawing the ground behind the gates at Churchill Downs. They want to be let out. They want to run.