Random Thoughts, early August 2015

I have yet to get my paws on The CEO’s SD card and post some of his gorgeous pictures from our New Zealand trip, but maybe I can pin him down soon.

I still hate August.

Around here, cornbread is properly made in a cast-iron skillet. God forbid you present Bookworm with any other kind... it offends her delicate sense of order.
Around here, cornbread is properly made in a cast-iron skillet. God forbid you present Bookworm with any other kind… it offends her delicate sense of order.

Bookworm is home for a few weeks! Summer session at Yale ended this past week, and she got home on Sunday evening. Fall classes start on September 2, so she has a little bit of time to breathe and soak in some farm-fresh air.  We made cornbread and pinto beans and country ham – foods she can’t get in CT. Well, they sometimes have cornbread in the dining hall, but it’s made with sugar and a much higher proportion of flour to cornmeal, so that it tastes like cake rather than the coarse savory skillet cornbread she prefers. (The addition of sugar to a cornbread recipe is a much-debated issue among Southern cooks, but of course the American South is such a wide area that “real Southern cornbread” has immense variation. I won’t be insulting and state that a recipe containing sugar can’t be “real Southern,” but my mother’s recipe doesn’t contain any. The first time I ever ate sweet cornbread was at the historic Michie Tavern, near Monticello, when I was seventeen, and I was horrified.)

Gaze started his classes at the Southwest Virginia Governor’s School for Science and Technology last week. Bookworm went through the program, which coordinates its classes through Virginia’s community college system, and found it valuable in teaching her study skills and in preparing her for college. It is a challenging curriculum, but I feel sure Gaze is up to it. SWVGS pulls from the surrounding seven counties, but it is located within a ten-minute drive of our high school, so that’s fairly convenient. Classes run from 7 am to approximately 10 am, and then the students return to their own high schools for the remainder of the day.

This year's marching band show shirts.
This year’s marching band show shirts.

We had a very successful two weeks of band camp (including a week of “pre-camp,” which focuses on fundamental marching techniques). It’s a difficult program this year, all original music, and the marching drill is challenging as well. The show title is “The Insanity of an Imaginary World,” and it is an Alice in Wonderland theme.

Taz has been helping on the farm quite a bit lately, and every time I look at him I think he’s a little bit taller! Can’t believe my baby will be a 9th-grader this year. School starts on Thursday. He’s running cross-country and doing well so far.

Don't know what I'd do without one of these.
Don’t know what I’d do without one of these.

If you ever entertained the notion that Pyrex dishes are indestructible, put it out of your head now. Here’s the transcript of a recent conversation I had with my mother:

Me: I could use another big measuring bowl – you know the kind with the handle and the measuring lines on the side? Mine broke. Do you know where I could find one?
Mom: It BROKE? It was Pyrex! I didn’t think Pyrex could break.
Me: Well, apparently if you drop one Pyrex dish onto another one, it breaks.
Mom: (stunned silence)

And now you know. (I found another one at Wal-Mart.)

Stay tuned for the Aotearoa-New Zealand travelogue.


6 thoughts on “Random Thoughts, early August 2015”

    1. I know! I just sort of stood there stunned… how could this happen?? I do still have all my other Pyrex cookware I received as wedding gifts 23 years ago (and the piece I dropped onto the measuring bowl was FINE).

  1. I hate to admit it, but I’ve shattered more than one Pyrex dish. What a mess to clean up. The new ones sold in the US are no longer made of borosilicate glass, which is more expensive than tempered glass.

    1. Oh, yes, a mess! Luckily this bowl didn’t shatter and instead broke into three large pieces… but they were *dangerous* pieces. Had to wrap the shards in newspaper lest the trash guys cut themselves.

      As I was telling Portia, I still have most of my wedding-gift Pyrex, which might be scratched a bit but is still going strong.

  2. Yea, not the same Pyrex these days. We’re not allowed to have nice things any more.

    This Southerner is horrified by sweet cornbread, too! I like mine made with white cornmeal, in a skillet, just like yours.

    Which is not to say I don’t use that sweet Jiffy mix now and then, but I add whole corn, smoked paprika and jalapeno to it, and I darn sure don’t call it cornbread!

    1. Sweet cornbread is, in my opinion, a Sin Against Culinary Propriety. Or, in Bookworm’s words, “That’s just wrong.” (It happened again in the Yale dining hall last week. She felt compelled to text me and complain.)

      That spicy cornbread-casserole sounds pretty good. Just, as you say, Not Cornbread.

      Sorry it’s taken me forever to reply!

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