In an age of convenience, it’s pretty easy to grab a can of well-seasoned beans, a can of whatever kind of greens – mixed or not- that suits you, and you can even grab a round of cornbread neatly wrapped in cellophane and head to the self-scan checkout in about 10 minutes if there’s no line.
You can do that for almost any kind of food that suits you – if that suits you.
I suspect we all want to eat better, fresher food and to eat with our families, perhaps even to cook with them, too. It’s an ideal and authentic urge that we watch happen on screen, we talk about it and even write passionate posts about it, but, like Mark Twain said about the weather: everybody talks about it, but nobody actually does anything. Perhaps that’s a little too broad – many of us try to cook. Even if it’s just frozen fish sticks, we feel the need to make the effort from time to time.
But regardless of nutritional consideration, there are a host of good, solid memories that never get created if we don’t take a little time in the kitchen with the ones we love. And these memories are investments that keep paying out for a lifetime.
In today’s episode, Mahasti’s making a simple country dinner – maybe you call it soul food, or maybe it’s comfort food to you; for me, it’s a memory of Mamaw Ethel and a special time and bond that we created nearly 40 years ago. Even thinking about it makes me miss her and love her and feel special all over again – just like I did then when she and I would sit alone in the kitchen with a bowl of beans and big shaker of garlic powder. Nobody else in my family seemed to love this seasoning like we did, so when we shared this moment, we would giggle as we made the surface of our beans white with garlic. It was our moment.
It’s a simple memory, I know, but my heart swells and my eyes water with longing to live it once more. Mamaw Ethel left us 17
years ago, but her cooking, beans, yes, but also stack cake, and oyster dressing, and cornbread and apple dumplings and more live in me so much that she’s with me every time I smell and eat them or any of the food that she made and shared with a heart full of love.
You can’t get that from a can.
It’s not just good nutrition that you give your family when you take the time to cook and break bread with them – it’s a lifetime of
comfort and love that you’re creating. Maybe you have memories like that? If you do, you know the value of time spent in the kitchen. We hear a lot about gifts that keep on giving – this is one of the best of them.
When we say Food Gotta Cook it isn’t just a tag line for us – it’s a way of living and a way of loving that sticks to the ribs of the soul. It’s not as convenient as a can, but it lasts a whole lot longer.
1 cup dry Pinto Beans
3.5 cups water
½ tsp Salt
¼ tsp Black Pepper
Look over the pinto beans and discard any rocks. Place the beans in a small bowl and cover with enough water to cover the beans by 2 inches, and let soak overnight.
Drain the beans in a sieve and rinse with cold water, then place them in a small pot. Pour 3.5 cups cold water on the beans and bring to a boil. Cook the beans for 45 minutes to an hour, until the beans are soft.
Add the salt and black pepper.
Serve the pinto beans immediately. Beans can be made a day or 2 ahead and re-heated or frozen, thawed and reheated.
Serves 3-4 people
Prep time 5 minutes
Inactive time 12 hours
Cook time 1 hour
Sour Cream & Buttermilk Cornbread
¾ cup Sour Cream
¾ cup Vegetable Oil
1 cup Buttermilk
1 ¾ cup Cornmeal
1 TBL Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
In a medium bowl whisk together the sour cream, oil, eggs and buttermilk. In another medium bowl mix together Cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix with whisk until all the ingredients are mixed well.
Pour the cornmeal batter into a greased 10-inch cast iron skillet. Bake the cornbread for 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or a thermometer register 195 degrees.
Cornbread can be frozen, thawed and reheated in a 350 degree oven for 5-7 minutes until warm in the center.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake Time 25 minutes
4 cups Kale leaves or other greens
1 TBL Vegetable Oil
2 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
¼ tsp salt
Wash Kale. Cut the stems into ½ inch pieces and set aside. Cut the leaves in half lengthwise, and into ½ – ¾ inch strips. Keep the stems and leaves separate.
Heat the oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add kale stems and sauté for 1 minute. Add leaves and sauté just until the leaves are beginning to wilt. Add the Vinegar and salt and sauté 1- 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat and transfer the greens to a small bowl.
Serve Family style or to assemble: Cut a piece of cornbread and place on a plate, top with a ladle of pinto beans, followed by sautéed greens and chopped onions. Serve Immediately.
Serves 3-4 people
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 5-7 minutes