December 20, 2004
i had to
The high temperature in Effingham County today is supposed to be 42 degrees. That's fucking FREEZING where I live. This the the kind weather meant for snuggling under warm quilts and listening to a fire crackle while you spoon with your honey. It ain't fit for nothing else.
But I don't have a honey OR a fireplace, so I opted for a big pot of pinto beans and some cornbread. I need some comfort food. Here's how you do it.
*Buy a bag of dried pinto beans. Wash them, then throw them in a pot on the stove with plenty of water and allow them to soak on low heat for a couple of hours.
*I don't do precise measurements when I cook. I eyeball everything.
*Cut about a pound of salt-cured country ham into small slivers and throw those into the pot. You can add potatoes, too, but I believe that potatoes defile this dish. If you want some home fries on the side, that's acceptable. Make your own choice.
*Dice 1/2 of a large Vidalea onion. Toss the onions into the pot . SAVE THE REST OF THE ONION!!! You'll want it later.
*After about two hours of soaking on "low", turn the heat up and simmer the beans. Smoke a joint, get drunk, go screw your darlin,' read a book, masturbate or whatever else you can think of to pass some time. Good pinto beans require patience.
*Stir the pot every now and then to make sure that you're not fucking up. Add more water if necessary as the beans mature and absorb the water.
*Taste the broth that is developing after about two hours. Add salt if needed, but remember that the country ham will provide a lot of the salt for you. DO NOT OVER-SALT. You can always add more, but you can't remove it once you threw it in there. Be careful.
*Get a good, roiling simmer going in the pot, put a lid on it and leave that shit alone for a while. Go smoke another joint. Get drunk. Screw darlin' again. Find some way to kill about four hours.
*After about four hours, those beans should be smelled by neighbors a half-mile away, even if your house is buttoned-up like a funeral vault. The beans are getting just about right, so it's time to make the cornbread.
*Put a big dollop of bacon grease in a bowl. (I don't measure a "dollop." I KNOW what one looks like.) Add two cups of corn meal, a palm full baking powder, a handful of sifted flour, 1 and 1/2 cups of milk and one raw egg. Beat the shit out of that mixture until it is smooth, then ladle it into a cast-iron skillet (buttered beforehand).
*Bake the cornbread in the oven at 425 degrees for 25 minutes.
*If you time this right, the cornbread can sit on the counter and cool (that way it won't fall apart when you carve it) just enough before you decide to eat it with a big bowl of beans. Cut the leftover Vidalea onion into slices and eat those raw with the beans and cornbread.
That's what I'm having for supper tonight. You might want to stay upwind of me.
(UPDATE: Whoo-hoo! I've got a pretty good supper here! Just some words of advice for people who don't know how to make decent cornbread-- DO NOT put sugar in it and DO NOT add honey. Goddam blasphemers. That ain't a cake you're baking. If you can't make cornbread that stands up to the taste-test on its own, buy a tube of frozen biscuits, you pathetic swine!!! BWHAHAHAAAA!!!)
I'm gonna fart at the moon tonight...
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