Take a Bit of Cornmeal, Add Water…..

March 13, 2016

IMG_5023I’ve always cherished this cookbook, self published by The Women’s Auxiliary of Olivet Episcopal Church in Franconia, Virginia in 1957. It’s chock-full of pickle recipes, arcane breads, church suppers – fried oysters for 200- and these esoteric axe-beaten biscuits. The Women’s Auxilary do a fine job of tracing their recipes from those of their  immediate (colonial, white ancestors). The results, like those axe-beaten biscuits, are both surprising and genuinely hilarious

First, a thoroughly humble cornbread for a not-so-humble man: IMG_5019

IMG_5020Such simple cornbread really needs good corn meal.  Imagine how it would shine when made with freshly ground sweet corn.

But it’s this ash cake that I really wanted to share: IMG_5018“Very particular people will cover the loaves with collard greens before the ashes are put over them.” What an immediately appealing voice!

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  • Ruth, that is perfectly charming. My paternal grandmother was from Virginia and I’ve traced her line back to the 1600s, so you have me thinking today about their foodways.

  • Kevin says:

    I remember one of our very first customers at the coppell farmers market show me this book, specifically the preserves and candy recipes sections. She was tasting one of our AVANI bars, I think it was the pistachio pineapple one, and she said it reminded her of a recipe from her mom, that she used to make a preserve using the sun dried fruits from their garden. and they used to serve for desert by mixing them with nuts, serving them with a side of ice cream. She wanted to try our bars with icecream for desert in the same way.

  • Anonymous says:

    I grew up on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and many women in my family made beaten biscuits. They were small, dense, and round, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, and were pricked with the tines of a fork on top.