Way back in October, I spent a delightful evening listening to Ruth Reichl at George Brown College. First there was an interview, then a question and answer section and finally the best part: the chance to speak with her and get a book signed.
You know how much I like having autographed copies of cookbooks, right? This was a great chance to add another signed book to my collection. Plus I’d get to hear this former editor of Gourmet magazine tell some great stories in support of her book, My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life. By the time the night of the event arrived, I’d read the book and enjoyed everything about it: the stories, the photography and the recipes all contributed to a wonderful combination of cooking and memoir.
The “Saved My Life” part of the title refers to Reichl’s job loss when Gourmet magazine was shut down by its publishers and how she dealt with the job loss by heading to her kitchen to cook. I still miss that magazine and have the a copy of the final issue published, still wrapped in the plastic it came in by mail. I took it and My Kitchen Year to the event.
Just before I got the the table to get my stuff signed, there were people taking the names of the attendees to speed up the process and so that no one’s name was spelled wrong. When they saw my Gourmet magazine, it created a buzz. In fact, the whole evening was a bit of a wake for that magazine. I spoke with a couple who were proud to have had a cookie recipe printed in Gourmet and a woman who talked about an article she remembered reading about her grandparent’s hometown in Greece that she treasured.
There is a great story in My Kitchen Year about Ruth being in a coffee shop and having someone ask her to autograph their final copy of Gourmet magazine. This person had also recently lost her job and was saving the magazine to read to cheer her up. Ruth and I talked about the story, which lead to this:
And also this:
After that, I had to make the Corm Muffins. Here’s what happened.
Melted the butter so it would have a chance to cool.
Got the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt together in a bowl.
Added the cornmeal to those dry ingredients.
Opened a can of corn.
Got the eggs and separated one of them.
Added the buttermilk to the cooled melted butter.
Got the wet and dry ingredients together.
Did not forget to add the corn.
Batter loaded into muffin tins.
New York Corn Muffins.
My new favourite way to slice and eat Corn Muffins, based on My Kitchen Year.
New York Corn Muffins
Makes 1 dozen muffins
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup corn kernels
1 cup flour
6 tablespoons white sugar
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons butter
Mix the flour with the cornmeal. (I prefer stoneground.) Whisk in sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda.
Melt the butter. Allow it to cool, then stir in buttermilk along with 1 egg and 1 additional egg yolk. Stir into the dry mixture. Toss in the corn kernels. (You can use frozen corn, and there’s no need to defrost it.) The dough will be lumpy; don’t worry about that.
Divide the batter into a well-greased muffin tin and bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes before turning the muffins out.
I like these best served the way they are in old New York coffee shops: split horizontally, brushed with butter, and toasted on a griddle or in a pan.