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March Slice of Life No.3  *  Celebrate This Week.

I’m sharing a slice and celebrating comfort on this Saturday morning
with a cup of coffee and a wedge of cornbread drizzled with warm cream and maple syrup.

There are some days that are comfort days, like Saturdays.
There are some smells that are comfort smells, like fresh baked brownies.
And there are some foods that are comfort foods (I fear I have far too many comfort foods), like cornbread with warm cream and maple syrup drizzled on top.

In the days of my girlhood, we were poor.
I didn’t know we were poor because we didn’t have a TV to tell me I was poor.
The newspaper didn’t have shopping inserts with colored pictures to tell me I was poor.
I always had a clean pressed cotton dress to wear, and I could only wear one at a time, so my clothes didn’t tell me I was poor.

And there was always plenty to eat, so hunger never told me I was poor.

My mother was an expert at making sure that my four brothers and I were never hungry. (Well, except for times we were dismissed from the supper table for inappropriate behavior.) But before I continue, less you feel badly for me, I want to assure you that I was actually quite rich in what matters and lasts a lifetime –like imagination, conversations, books, laughter, love, faith.

As I was saying, my mom was an expert at making a grand meal out of almost nothing. Often in the winter, our evening meal (we always called it supper) was soup or stew. Some of the soups would begin with beef bones that my dad picked up from the butcher. (Soup bones were cheap back then. Little did we know that one day, bone broth would be considered a super food and bones with marrow would not be poor man’s fare.)

During cold winter months, large pots of delicious soups or stews simmered in our kitchen.

Sometimes Mom served what Dad called “day-old bread.” It was the stale bread that grocers sold at a greatly reduced price. It wasn’t moldy, just very dry. Mom would butter it and put it under the oven broiler until it was hot and crunchy. (Maybe that’s why I like crunchy toast.)  Other times, Mom would bake flaky biscuits or cornbread to pair with our bowls of soup or stew. And on rare occasions, she would fry thin, crunchy cornbread patties — a recipe she learned while living in rural North Carolina. (But most often, fried cornbread patties went with our dinner of boiled ham, potatoes, cabbage).

When Mom baked cornbread, she would double up so there would be leftovers for breakfast the next morning. In the morning, she toasted wedges of cornbread sliced in half under the oven broiler, then spread them with farm butter. (I call it farm butter because Dad bought raw milk by the gallon from a farm, and Mom skimmed the rich cream from the top to serve on our cooked cereal or churn into butter, and sometimes whip up to go on a dessert.) As the butter melted, she would drizzle the smallest amount of warm cream and maple syrup on top of each slice.

I loved that cornbread!

So, on this chilly Saturday morning,
between winter and spring, I’m indulging
in a slice of hot buttered cornbread
with warm cream and maple syrup drizzled on top,
a cup of coffee and
the comfort of memories.


words of faith

And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life:
he that
cometh to me shall never hunger.  –John 6:35 (KJV)

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Celebrate this Week
with Ruth Ayres