Anyone who knows me at all knows I enjoy a good meal and I particularly enjoy my time preparing good meals. After a day of making jewelry wearing the Gary Dawson Designs hat, I like to play in my kitchen! This past Sunday breakfast was no exception. Slow is the way to cook bacon, BTW. On a Sunday, you can have a reasonably low heat and take the good 15-20 minutes it takes to first render the fat from the bacon, and then slowly crisp it up. Cooked this way it never sticks, even in a Stainless pan!
Some years ago I came across an unusual recipe in my tattered copy of Joy of Cooking, a fantastic reference for all things culinary. In the hard-copy version, you can find instruction for just about any cooking skill or recipe, from making blueberry muffins to breaking down a beef carcass. The recipe I landed upon was called Crêpes Sauvages and it produces a light, yet hearty flapjack-type pancake with a flavor similar to fried cornmeal mush, a flavor that maybe only a Southerner can immediately access in memory. Although I grew up in Oregon, my Mom was from Alabama, and my food memories reflect a lot of that heritage. Here’s the recipe, direct from JOC, along with the notes about the recipe that were included in my original cookbook…
"About twenty thin 2-inch cakes
A distinguished botanist friend had as visitors on a field trip a Parisian confrère who traveled accompanied by his gifted Indonesian chef. To amuse the chef, our friend cooked his favorite corn cakes for him over a campfire. As he tossed the flapjacks, the chef cried out in delight, “Crêpes Sauvages!”
If you make this version up without the eggs, the pancakes become lacey.
1 1/3 cups white corn meal
1 ¼ t salt
½ t soda
¼ C sifted all-purpose flour
Cut into this with a pastry blender:
¼ C butter
Combine and beat:
2 C buttermilk
Stir the liquid into the sifted ingredients with a few swift strokes. Make the cakes small for easier turning. The batter settles readily, so beat it between spoonings. To rest griddle, bake and serve, see About Pancakes, page 211..."
Lost & Found
During a move, or maybe a “relationship readjustment” I eventually lost my first Joy and was extremely dismayed that the newer version that I subsequently purchased did not have this recipe! Alas, I had not yet started my personal recipe archive. So for years I missed this occasional breakfast treat. But, lucky guy that I am, I ended up with another, and amazingly, she had an older version of Joy. I’ve since discovered that the recipe is in fact in newer versions of the book, but without the backstory and listed as “Crisp Corn Flapjacks”.
...and the Spirit of Adventure. While I really enjoy the recipe just as it is above, this last Sunday I decided to try making it with the addition of Sourdough. It was good, great really but I’m my own worst critic. I know what I’d do differently next time.
If you try this, let me know how it turns out! I’d love to hear your story.