way back on the twelfth or so, right before my younger sister, asm, had to go back to school, we tried out a couple more of m.f.k. fisher's recipes.
the first of the two we tried was southern spoon bread.
like everything i make, i ended up saying "or whatever" quite frequently instead of following directions.
for instance, instead of using cornmeal, we used almond meal. partly because i'm not so big on cornmeal, but also because i couldn't find any in trader joe's.
the spring on our sifter got stuck early on and i ended up milling the almond meal.
that quickly became the bane of my existence.
instead of sifting the meal three times, i said "or whatever" and milled it twice.
it was fine.
the whole dish came out a lot soupier than i expected.
which was dumb of me. i mean, the dish is called spoon bread. not knife-and-fork bread.
the family seemed to like it (a lot more than i did), so i guess it was a win.
it reminded me a bit too much of baby food, though i did like the flavor of the almond meal.
in retrospect, i probably should have used condensed milk.
as for ms. fisher's comments:
probably the nearest thing to polenta our country can lay claim to is southern spoon bread, which is a dainty and more expensive and at the same time more limited dish than its italian ancestor. it is very good indeed, as any authentic carolina cook, past, present, or future, will be glad to prove to you. it can be served, delicate and steaming, with chicken or whatever casserole you may have. it can even act as a backbone for a dishful of left-over gravy or sauce, to which you have probably added a few canned mushrooms and some fresh herbs and sherry. [i often use olives in such brews, the black pitted medium or small size, halved or quartered. it is best to toss them and the mushrooms thoroughly in a little oil or butter, then add the herbs, then the left-over sauce, and finally the sherry. everybody stays unquestioning and pleased, especially olive-loathers, of whom there are many.]
southern spoon bread
2 cups cornmeal
1 ½ cups sweet milk
2 cups boiling water
1 teaspoon salt
3 large tablespoons butter, melted
sift the meal three times and mix until it is smooth into the boiling water. add the melted butter and salt, and thin with the milk.
separate the eggs, and beat until light, folding first the yolks and then the whites into the batter. pour into a buttered baking dish, bake about thirty minutes in a moderate oven (350°), and serve in its dish (fisher 292-293).