The fact that I live in Nashville still confuses me sometimes, especially when we return from somewhere familiar, like Chicago to see my family or Ohio to see Tim’s. Tuesday night we came home from a few days in Cincinnati, for example, where all the men in Tim’s family went to a Monday night football game and I finally got to hit up IKEA—and coming back had me dreaming about eating breakfast in my own parents’ kitchen or watching Friday night movies at my friend Jackie’s house. Sometimes being around familiar things makes me want to be around more familiar things. And even though, from where I write this post tonight, I know I’ve lived in Tennessee for two and a half years (WHAT!), the fact that I live in the South still seems strange. People in the South are downright charming—but it’s hard to know when they’re being genuine. People in the South like to small-talk—but this level of interaction can go on for years. And here I am, this Midwestern girl who at first seems aloof and then pours her vulnerable heart all over the coffee shop, and it’s not hard to wonder where exactly I fit in.
I am convinced there’s great value in being a student of things you don’t understand—This includes health and nutrition, family relationships, frizzy hair, and entire regions of the country like the parts south of the Mason-Dixon line. Since I started visiting Nashville in 2010, I’ve been exposed to increasing levels of Southern culture, and along the way I guess I’ve been taking notes. So while it’s true I make generalizations about the South, about Tennessee, it’s also true I know places are made up of people, and no two people are exactly the same. It’s just interesting to look at the trades, foods, and backyard party styles of people in certain geographies. And that’s what I found fascinating about the cookbook, Southern Living No Taste Like Home*.
Besides having a puffy hardcover exterior and pages and pages of beautiful, colorful photographs, this cookbook is filled with information about this area called the South. It’s broken up into six sections—Heart of Dixie, Cajun Country, Texas, Piedmont and Mountains, Bluegrass/Bourbon/Barbecue Trail (that’s where our city fits in), and Coastal South. Reading the section intros was a little like touring different parts of America, and I found that a pretty enjoyable way to look at recipes and food.
The first recipe we adapted from the book was this fresh corn pudding, nestled just under a recipe for Kentucky Burgoo (essentially a meaty stew). Even swapping out the cream for kefir, the sugar for coconut sugar, the flour for einkorn and cutting everything in half, the result was creamy comfort food—something the South has always done best.
The texture and flavor reminded me of cream corn meets soufflé. To my brother-in-law, it was like a corn version of a mac n’ cheese. Either way, it’s one beautiful reason to love this place I’m continually learning to make my home.
Fresh Corn Pudding
Adapted from Tee’s Corn Pudding in Southern Living No Taste Like Home
See notes in post about the adjustments to the recipe—If you want to double it, just bake everything in a 9×13 pan when you do.
6 to 7 ears of fresh corn, husks removed
1/8 cup coconut sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (we used einkorn)
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup whole-milk kefir
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 350F and grease an 8X8 square baking dish lightly.
Cut corn kernels from cobs into a large bowl, and discard cobs.
In a small bowl, combine coconut sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt.
In a medium bowl, combine eggs, kefir, and melted butter.
Slowly whisk sugar mixture into egg mixture, until smooth. Then pour this combined mixture over corn and stir together until nicely combined. Pour it into the prepared baking dish.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until set. Pudding is ready to be served after cooling for a few minutes; it can be eaten warm or cool, according to your tastes.
*We received a review copy of this cookbook; all opinions expressed are, as always, our own.