Thursday, May 21, 2009

May 18, 2009: Cornbread 'n Cocktails - Elegant, Fresh, Stunning Strawberry Ones

Andrea Immer, author of Great Wines Made Simple and many other texts on wine, asserts that corn is the single most wine-friendly food in the world. Which brings to mind the old (and eventually expurgated) text of "Beulah Land," Edgar Stites's grand 1876 Methodist camp meeting hymn: "I've reached the land of corn and wine, and all its riches freely mine..."

Later some Baptist revisions yielded a Temperance-minded version: "I've reached the land of joy divine..." But we'll not quibble. There's nothing wrong with joy divine, either.

One consistent longing in many beautiful old hymns is that we will commune with loved ones in freedom and peace in the next life. In this present life, we get to do some earthy and earthly communing already when we come together with good food, drink and friends. In fact, we are enjoying the blessings of corn and wine each week at the Monday night Cornbread Suppers.

This week a wondrous add-on event increased our joy -- earthly joy, though it almost seemed divine in some ways. Neighbor and cocktail historian, advocate, and inventor Mick Jeffries brought an entire cocktail production system across the street and set up shop in the Campsie dining room, muddling fresh Harrison County strawberries, adding the right amounts of fresh lime juice, simple syrup, and rum, chilling with ice - and straining the luscious light, tart-sweet, cold-but-not-frozen mixture into adorable tiny footed glasses.

Cocktailateur Mick JeffriesHistorian Mick taught us that cocktails originally were small sips. And with his muddling stick and pure ingredients he wiped out any memory of any sick-pink-frozen strawberry daiquiri ever sold at a chain restaurant. A thousand thank-yous to Mick for his generosity and good spirit(s).

A sizable group of people ranging in age from eight months to 97 years enjoyed an array of foods, including these few for which I collected the handwritten paper descriptions during cleanup:
  • Mrs. Smallwood's Bourbon pie (packing 1 cup Maker's Mark - and deemed more alcoholic than the daiquiris!)
  • Spinach + Feta Pie: Local spinach; Local feta; 1 egg; pecans, ground; wheat germ; non-fat yogurt
  • Old Time Buttermillk Pie
  • Pickled Beets
Cornbreads included these:

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