Lori Soard is a fellow writer and friend. She’s doing a blog tour this week to introduce her new novel, Dear Viking and since I was going to be on vacation I asked if she could include me in the blog tour. I know you’ll enjoy her writing and her family recipe.
There are few things that bring as many memories rushing back as favorite foods from our childhood. Something as simple as the smell of cookies baking can remind us of lazy Saturdays at Mom’s elbow or coming home from the first day of school to a special treat.
Growing up, I lived next door to my great-grandmother. We called her Mammee. Mammee loved to cook and she loved to teach others how to cook. I spent many hours at her side learning how to make old-fashioned favorites like corn sticks, green beans, pork chops and 80 different varieties of potatoes. She also loved to make pies and cookies.
She had these soft blue, bumble bee measuring cups that I knew she loved. She would hold them carefully and lovingly and then let my five-year-old hands fumble around with those cups. I’m sure she often wondered if I would drop those cups and break them, but she never said a word. To her, feeding me, teaching me to feed myself and a future family was showing love.
Years later, I would inherit those measuring cups, but my husband would subsequently drop them and break them. I was heartbroken and while I have found a replacement set, they are not blue and they are not the same. Still, she would not have wanted me to dwell on the loss of the cups. She would have laughed over it. Instead, she would want me to bake him some corn sticks, so that’s what I did.
It is funny how something so small can mean so much and have so many memories tied to it. While part of me believes those memories lie in the measuring cups shaped like a beehive, the other part of me knows they are in my heart and soul. Every time I make corn sticks or teach one of my own future grandchildren how to cook, Mammee, and her love for me, lives on.
My Grandmother’s Measuring Cups
- 1 1/4 cup cornmeal
- 2/3 cup white flour
- Shortening (Crisco is my brand of choice)
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 egg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup milk (you can also add a splash of buttermilk if you’d like)
- Cast iron skillet
- Preheat oven to 424 degrees F. Sift dry ingredients together (cornmeal, flour, salt, baking powder).
- Beat the egg and fold into the mix of dry ingredients.
- Add milk.
- Stir until it is a thick batter. If needed, add a splash more of milk or buttermilk. The batter should pour easily into a pan but not be runny.
- Use shortening to grease the sides of your skillet. Set the skillet on your burner on medium heat and melt a tablespoon of shortening.
- Once the shortening is melted, pour the cornbread mixture into the pan and cook for just a minute to allow the bottom crust to crisp up.
- Place the pan into the oven and cook for 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
- Be extremely cautious when you remove the skillet from the oven. The handle is hot and it is easy to forget and try to grab it to move it around. You may want to place an oven mitt over the handle as it cools so you don’t accidentally attempt this. Trust me, it hurts!
- To use this recipe with the cornbread stick pan, simply coat the pan with shortening and preheat in the oven before pouring the cornbread batter in.
I hope you’ll make this recipe with your children and grandchildren. Let them help you. Don’t worry over the mess. Remember you are creating precious memories that will last for years to come. When that child has cornbread, she will always think of you and the loving time you spent together in the kitchen.
Rök Erikson comes from a long line of Viking warriors. The tradition of his upbringing, his new Christian faith and the code of honor that says he must protect his family at all costs wage war within him. He and his brothers go on a mission to kill Jarl Van of Colby before the man can make another attempt on their father’s life. The code of honor insists that they either kill or be killed, however, there are dark forces at work of which Rök is unaware.
Leani is the daughter of the jarl Rök believes is making attempts on his father’s life. When the eldest brother reaches her village ahead of Rök and the rest of the party, he kills her father and defiles her frail sister. Enraged, and fearing for her own life, Leani drives a silver dagger into his neck. Leani is captured by the vile Eriksons and forced to leave behind her broken sister as they take her to face a trial for killing the Viking who murdered her father.
Leani’s life hangs in the balance as she struggles with her guilt over taking the life of another and tries to find forgiveness where none should exist. Her faith will be tested to the limits as she fights a growing attraction to her enemy, tries to hide the truth about her identity, uncovers a treachery that runs deep within the Erikson clan, and sees how God can come to your rescue even when all hope seems lost…
Lori Soard has a PhD in Journalism but she’s hardly the stuffy professor type. She enjoys writing romantic comedies, such as Finding Ms. Right, gets excited over a good comedy and has even seen one of her books turned in a Manga comic. When she isn’t working on fiction, she is writing articles and designing websites.