- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ cup coconut sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup non dairy milk
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted + more for greasing pan
- 1 egg
- vegan buttery spread
- Preheat oven to 425.
- In a medium mixing bowl combine your cornmeal, almond flour, corn starch, baking powder, coconut sugar, and salt.
- Add in your non dairy milk, coconut oil, and egg. Whisk until well combined.
- Grease a cast iron skillet or circular baking pan with coconut oil, and pour in your batter.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, checking with a toothpick to know when it's done.
- Slather on some vegan buttery spread and honey, if you want.
- EAT UP.
There are stories woven into everything we eat, everything we wear, every word we speak, every breath we take. I am fascinated by those stories. I have always worn thrifted clothes because of the mysterious past they carry (and also the price is a bonus.) The etymology of words has always arrested my soul, and added depth to my reading and writing. And when I cook food I often think of the generations of hands that have been preparing the same dishes time and time again. We are made of stories.
When I make cornbread I think about my grandma, Peggy Sue, who lived in her butter-filled kitchen until the day she died. I’m not sure if she’d be proud or horrified by the healthyish version of her food, but either way I feel connected to her in the process. I make cornbread because she did, and she made it because her mother did, and on and on like that through time. Hands and hearts connected through the cornbread making process.
I think about this especially with southern food. I consider the history of slavery and the impact it had on southern cuisine. That history, however dark at times, is baked into your food and digested with each bite. As a white person, it adds some humility to each bite, as well as an immense amount of gratefulness. It is so important to acknowledge that story every time we sit down to eat.
When those histories are silenced or unacknowledged, there is a gap in the stitching of our world. I see this in the Black Lives Matter movement, I see this in the writing of my friend Erika (aka. Southern Souffle), I see this in the resistance, I see this in my own life. I see this and I am humbled.
I think back to my freshman year in college – sitting in a dentist’s chair – sobbing, because I had just been told I needed to lose my front tooth (you know the one at the very front of your mouth that everyone sees). I was distraught, and embarrassed, and sad. And instead of comforting me and telling me that she understood, my dentist proceeded to tell me her story. She told me of how when she was a child she developed an allergic reaction to her own body, and she broke out in rashes for years. She told me this to comfort me, but it didn’t help.
You can’t substitute one story for another. You can’t erase someone else’s pain, by telling them of your own. You can’t silence a culture, by ignoring their history. There is no empathy in that. And where there is no empathy, there is no story. (Since I have a film degree, I can firmly tell you – where there is no story, there is no life.)
So we must acknowledge each other’s stories – openly, purely, empathetically. We must remind ourselves of the lives that came before us. We must thank all of the hands that ever prepared our food. For we are all made of stories, and if you want yours to be heard – I suggest you begin by first listening. (Oh and making some Healthyish Coconut Oil Cornbread.)