I Hate This Cornmeal!

i hate this cornmeal

Those were the last words I sputtered before launching myself onto the couch in the sun-room this morning. I had this grand plan for breakfast that not only did not go according to plan, it literally went up in smoke. Todd came and found me face planted in the couch and snapped this shot to show me how ridiculous I look. After laughing about it together I decided this was a great writing inspiration, I was absolutely having an I show myself love when moment.

Last night while Todd and I were reading in bed I announced that I was going to make arepas and over easy eggs for breakfast in the morning. I was very pleased with myself. I have not made arepas in years so I double checked a recipe online and settled in for the night with thoughts of delicious runny eggs and warm arepas with butter running through my head. This diet is so restrictive that to have a meal to look forward to is a luxury in my life right now.

This morning Todd and Lucy woke me up with snuggles and puppy kisses and Todd transcribed while I dictated the grocery list. Once our list was complete we headed off to the store.

I found the cornmeal I was looking for but upon reading the ingredients on the back I realized I cannot have it after all. There was another cornmeal next to me that had an ingredients list I could work with so I grabbed it and scooted off to finish the shopping.

When we got home is when the trouble started, the next series of events have Calamity Jill written all over them.

I was unloading and putting away groceries when I heard a crash behind me, I turned and found my spoon/ladle holder on the ground shattered. I must have knocked it off the counter some how when I was moving groceries around. I felt my heart drop into my stomach. I really liked this ladle holder. It was one of the first home items I bought for myself when I lived alone in my one bedroom apartment. I remember feelings like such an adult. Plus it had this colorful mandala design that spoke to my inner artist. There it was, all of its beautiful colors sprayed across the kitchen floor. My eyes began to well up as Todd stopped putting away groceries to help me clean up the plaster shards.

A few minutes later I was back on track for making arepas but not very happy with myself. Not long after I broke the spoon holder I said to myself I show myself love when, as a reminder to be nice to myself – it was an accident. So I was now on to making arepas and being mindful of the inner dialogue I had going on.

I followed all the directions from the online recipe but did not get the desired result of a sticky dough, not by a long shot. I had water with separated cornmeal and salt in it. Ugh! That is when I realized this cornmeal was not meant for making arepas. I tried to keep my cool. I dumped my mixture that was unusable and decided to come up with a plan B. I looked at the back of the cornmeal container to see what the suggested uses were and one jumped out, cornbread! Great, I can do cornbread. I checked to make sure I had all the ingredients, I did, so I was ready to go. Cornbread and over easy eggs, sounds good! The pep was back in my step, I was not going to let these road blocks hold me down!

I followed all the directions, 3/4 cups if this, 1 teaspoon of that, and viola! Not really though. I expected to have a runny batter which I would then pour into my glass dish for the oven but what I had actually resembled the arepa dough. WTF? I was not going to be swayed, this was going to make cornbread damn it! I plopped the dough into the dish, mushed it around and until it was evenly distributed and prepared to stick it in the oven for 20 minutes.

This whole time the oven had been preheating to 425 like instructed by the recipe, when I opened the oven door I was almost knocked backwards by an ENORMOUS cloud of black smoke. Now choking and eyes burning I threw the dish into the oven and slammed the door shut. I stood in my smoke filled kitchen, eyes filled with water for two reasons now, and decided I had had enough!!

I hate this cornmeal!!!!! I whizzed through the living room, past Todd who was reading on the couch, and catapulted onto the couch in the sun-room. Trepidatiously he and Lucy approached, like you see soldiers approach a grenade in the movies when they are not sure if it is live or not, easy does it – we do not want to set it off. Next thing I knew I was being womped by throw pillows and whipped by puppy tail. Does this help? He exclaimed. I started to laugh.

I aired all my grievances about my morning to which he listened sympathetically before doing all the things he knows to do to make me laugh.

I was sure that when I took the cornbread out 20 minutes later it was going to be a charred mess, but I was wrong. I also realized what I had done wrong. I was so upset because I followed the recipe exactly, I could not figure out why my batter was so dense. Well, I didn’t actually follow the recipe all that closely. I substituted white flour for coconut flour and buttermilk for coconut milk. Of course my batter was going to be different. The cornbread was good though and even though I broke one of my yolks while making the over easy eggs, and we didn’t finally eat breakfast until noon, it was a success.

It was a success because I recovered. It was a success because I had loving support from my family and myself (however delayed). It was a success because I did not let all the set backs and failures get in the way of the end result, breakfast with my family and a lesson learned.

So here are my lessons learned:

Baking is a science and you can’t just change everything and expect the same outcome (I kinda knew that, which is why I don’t bake).

Broken things are replaceable but unkind words you say to yourself in a moment of frustration can be damaging.

It is okay to ask for help when you are having a hard time.

AND remember to laugh at yourself and the situation, it is called perspective!


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