I have been thinking about affection. I got my hands on a lecture that Wendell Berry gave last week called “It All Turns On Affection.” I won’t do it the injustice of a summary; I’d much rather you read it yourself. I will say that what really stuck with me was the idea of letting affection be what compels you.
I read the speech on my train ride to the greenmarket on Saturday morning. I struggle with explaining my weekly farmer’s market ritual, which contains many seemingly unsavory elements: leaving my apartment before 8 am on a weekend, an hour on the subway, and a whole lot of schlepping. The language of commitment never feels quite right for something that brings me such pleasure, something that I have such an affection for.
The first time I bought buttermilk it was because I found some at the greenmarket from the little town in Sullivan County where my mom was born. I will risk culinary shame and tell you that I didn’t much care about buttermilk before that. Now, I buy it a couple times a month and seek out recipes, like this one, that let it shine. A deep, complex affection brought me the simple joy of buttermilk too early on a Saturday.
I’ve been picking out other places where affection is at work in my life and places I could let it work. I think there may be some undoing involved. Ponder it over Rhubarb Spoonbread and let me know what you come up with.
- Adapted (just barely) from this Edna Lewis recipe on Leite’s Culinaria and inspired by this sweet spoonbread over at Homesick Texan.
- If you need this to be strictly gluten-free, make sure to select a cornmeal that is labeled “gluten-free.” Some brands are not considered gluten-free due to cross-contamination.
- This was my first time making spoon bread and I immediately regretted not making it long ago. The texture is firm, but custard-y.