Cornbread on Lunasa

A week ago I was in the emergency room, scared spitless I was about to be rushed into surgery for appendicitis. It turned out to be a kidney infection instead. I was sent home with prescription painkillers, anti-nausea medication, and strong antibiotics.

Saturday was my birthday and I spent it on the couch, watching BBC TV series on Netflix. I was not up to cooking so I “indulged” in store-bought apple pie, tiramisu, and frozen samosas. As usual, it was so disappointing. One of the side effects of being raised on home-baked goodies and doing your own baking for your entire adult life is the stuff from the grocery store may be easier, but it’s never as good. On Sunday the nausea came back with a vengeance and I started feeling worse. I felt like I was fighting against myself. I started researching kidney support through diet and supplements and realized I was eating all the wrong foods. On Monday I started a mostly raw, high fiber diet with no refined sugar, dairy, meat (only chicken broth), acid and minimal whole grains- green smoothies, steamed sweet potatoes, applesauce, and lots of diluted coconut water. The nausea almost completely disappeared in 24 hours, and I started feeling better overall.

Lúnasa completely snuck up on me. Usually Lúnasa means baking multiple loaves of fresh bread and a big picnic with games, foot races, and swimming. Instead I was stuck on the couch resting. Somehow the day just felt incomplete without bread of some kind, but I definitely wasn’t up for baking yeast bread from scratch. So I made a pan of perfect cornbread instead.

Perfect Cornbread

The key to perfectly tender cornbread is to do as little stirring as possible to combine the ingredients.

1 1/2 c white bolted cornmeal
1 c whole wheat flour
1/4 c raw sugar
1 tbl baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 c water
1/2 c + 1 tbl peanut or sunflower oil, or melted butter
2 eggs

Turn on the oven to 400. Immediately put a cast iron skillet in the oven. Wait 10 minutes.

Combine all of the dry ingredients in a bowl and stir very well. Measure 1/2 c of oil or melted butter in a liquid measuring cup. Add the 2 eggs and beat well with a fork, until the eggs and oil are almost homogeneous. Add the oil/egg mixture to the dry ingredients. Do not stir! Then measure out the 1 1/2 c of water and add to the dry ingredients. Now quickly stir just until everything is moistened and there are no big lumps of flour. Get the oil ready. Take the hot skillet out of the oven and splash just a little oil in the skillet and swirl it around. Then scrape the cornbread batter into the skillet and quickly put the skillet back in the oven.

Bake for 15 minutes or until the cornbead is cracked across the top, firm, slightly golden, and smells ridiculously good. Serve with plenty of butter and local honey or cane syrup.

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