Friday, January 21, 2011

no more cornbread

it's time to declare an end to the production and consumption of cornbread in this country. sometimes it can be hard to tell where a food went from side dish and occasional breakfast food to cultural scourge, but in the case of cornbread it was probably the issue of water raising that tipped everything.

before water-raised cornbread, there were a number of ways of baking and preparing this treat. it could be successfully baked in small and unusual ovens; it could be made with various flour types and mixtures, and the corn meal used could be light or heavy or thick or thin or nearly white.

since those simple days, when butters and lards and bacon grease went into cornbread, we come now to a strange reality where national boundaries are delineated by acres of oceangoing cornbread warehouses. these facilities, both costly to maintain and dangerous to defend, have proven to be more trouble than they are worth.

the first problem is the oven temperature. water-raised cornbread is baked at extremely low temperatures for immensely long periods of time, which gives it a sophisticated yet tender flavor. however, the ideal temperature for cooking these foods is still warm enough to severely burn orcas and surfers who stumble their way into the warehouses.

the second problem with oceanic cornbread raising is the low vitamin content of these foods. humans have always needed vitamins as a part of their daily routine, and ideally many people would prefer to get their vitamins in the form of cornbread. however, no one has yet perfected a system to distribute vitamin supplements evenly over the tremendous square footage, varied ownership, and international distribution of warehouses. some batches are as rich in essential nutrients as turnips and potato peelings, while others are so devoid of both nutrition and flavor that they have been ignored even by tge seabirds who normally harm yields.

the final and largest problem, a problem with the same origins as the vitamin issue, is that no one knows what ocean raised cornbread is any longer. it began as a tremendously innovative and well-defined food, like the shoestring potato or the yellow gum drop. unfortunately, what has happened in intervening years is that opportunists, innovators, mavericks, strategic thinkers, and hobbyists have evolved their own versions of the product simply by seeking to imitate, improve upon, and outwit their competitors. the sad state of today's world is that everyone knows what ocean raised cornbread is, but no one understands its evolution. what they actually know is that it has become nothing.

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