Friday, April 1, 2011

Comfort Food

I really love food and I really love to eat. And when I say I really love these things, I mean I really, really LOVE them. Luckily, lately, I have also really loved cooking and baking. This is a big plus when you really love to eat because 1. it's cheaper to cook for yourself than to have someone cook for you (and I am a teacher, living on a teacher's income) and 2. no matter how many unhealthy ingredients I am using, I still believe I am using fewer than food factories would.

My new interest in cooking has probably been inspired by many things. The first thing would probably be living in a foreign country. Once I started living in Germany, I noticed that there were a few things that I really missed from home that I couldn't really get here. These American (or at least Americanized) comfort foods were always there for me at home, waiting in my mom's kitchen, at the nearest neighborhood restaurant, or even in the freezer aisle of the grocery store. If I needed something warm to stick to my bones, I could always find it in one of three convenient locations.

It didn't take much time schlepping around Germany in the freezing cold and about a foot of snow, with a stack of resumes and a language barrier for me to begin to crave things like macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, chili, enchiladas and burritos, big fluffy American pancakes and a whole lot of other things I would never eat back at home because of the number of calories or the amount of fat. These are things that you cannot (easily) find in Germany, so one after the other, I began to try and make them myself. Since then, I have made many of them more than one time and have discovered (and perfected) some of my favorite recipes. That's how I became a decent cook.

That being said, I am by no means a "good" cook. I still have a long way to go. And when I made chili (and homemade cornbread) tonight, I needed Peter's help seasoning it because I still feel lost when it comes to spices. But, I have lots of friends who are great cooks and bakers and THEY are the other reason that I began cooking. Many of them have wonderful blogs, blogs that are beautifully written and wonderfully illustrated. And now we come to my fourth love (besides food, eating and cooking) which is the cooking (and/or baking) blog.

The blogs of my friends are my favorites! I realize that if any of you are reading this, you know I have kept in touch poorly since I moved to Germany, but I tell you, I follow your blogs religiously. My sister number 3, Katie Fasse has a beautiful blog about baking that I just love and has been inspiring me more and more lately ( My old friend from high school, Rachel, has one of the best all around cooking baking blogs I have seen ( She and I must have the exact same taste in food (except that I often add in a little meat). My dad's friend's wife has an excellent nutrition blog, which often features interesting vegan cooking and baking ideas ( These are all wonderful people with wonderful recipes that I am now always anxious to try. It makes me want to start a food blog, but the truth is, I am not nearly there yer. Perhaps I can share some of my favorite recipes with you, however.

There are also a couple of amazing food blogs that I love, which are NOT written by people that I know well. One is Cannelle et Vanille by Aran Goyoaga. She takes wonderful photos and does very simple, fresh food. She is from the Basque region of Spain and cooks accordingly. Considering the time I have spent in Spain, looking at her blog always makes me happy. Another one is Smitten Kitchen by Deb Perelman. She recently wrote a blog on making spätzle and has a ton of artichoke recipes in her "spring" section that I am just dying to try (artichoke ravioli, anyone?). How could someone not be hungry (or inspired to cook) after looking at all these amazing blogs (whether professional or almost professional ;-) ).

I, for one, am very happy about this trend towards home cooking. I think it is about the best thing we can do for our bodies and our minds. For too long, America has been reliant on packaging and microwaves. No, I don't always cook healthy. And, yes, I love butter and I love putting it on everything. But, I truly believe the making something myself and enjoying it fully must be better for my health than heating up a pre-packaged Lean Cuisine that leaves me feeling unsatisfied and empty. So this is a shout out to all my girls who are cooking and baking and blogging. Keep going because you are inspiring and this is going to (hopefully) change the way people eat. Thank you all!

I am adding a picture of tonight's chili and cornbread to this blog. Sorry about the poor quality, iPhone was all that was available. I will add the recipe for the cornbread to this, as well, although clearly it wasn't mine. It's a good cornbread, I promise. Peter had never had cornbread before and he ate so much he was in a food coma for about 45 minutes afterwards. It's moist and a little sweet and delicious. I added honey butter, of course. It isn't necessarily a fancy recipe for all my profi-friends but I could say all the ingredients in German and that is a big necessity for me here. And, because it is Friday night and I'm lazy, I am not going to proof-read this before I publish it. So, I apologize ahead of time for any grammatical/spelling errors.

Eat up and enjoy!

Grandmother's Buttermilk Cornbread
by Bethany Weathersby on

1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt


1. Preheat over to 375 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease an 8 inch square pan.
2. Melt butter in a large skillet (I used a saucepan). Remove from heat and stir in Sugar. Quickly add eggs and beat until well blended.
3. Combine buttermilk with banking soda and stir into mixture in pan. Stir in cornmeal, flour and salt until well blended and a few lumps remain. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
4. Bake in preheated over for 30-40 mins, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.


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