Mystery (possibly) Solved!

9 Jul

So a couple weeks ago I mentioned that I didn’t know what corn muffin mix was. Well I bought some the other day to try in a batter for some fried green tomatoes.  I also picked up a copy of Southern Living’s Homestyle Cookbook (2008) from the library.  I guess I just have southern cuisine on the brain.  Anyway, several of the recipes call for self-rising cornmeal, so I guess that’s what corn muffin mix is?  Because it has baking soda and acid in it, which would make it self-rising.  Still not totally sure they’re the same thing, but I’m gonna give a couple of recipes a go using the corn muffin mix.  Though the selection of recipes I can try will be somewhat limited.  I’m kind of surprised though that an item I’ve never seen mentioned before is carried at every Walgreens and on the website.  I guess corn muffin mix and/or self-rising corn meal are just pantry staples in other parts of the country.  Like how self-rising flour is a staple in Australia, but only used occasionally there.  I’ll bet a Walgreens type of store in Melbourne would have SR flour, but you wouldn’t find it at much any drugstore here… Hmm… I seem to have lost my point somewhere.  Moving on.

So there are some pretty good looking recipes in the cookbook I mentioned.  There’s a bourbon pound cake I wanna try, and a chocolate sheet cake that is almost exactly like my grandmother’s.  But!  SO many of the recipes in the desserts chapter start off with a box of cake mix and a box of instant pudding mix. For shame, Southern Living!  I mean, it’s somewhat plausible, maybe, that the preservative taste left by using a cake mix can be overcome by drowning the cake in Kahlua or somethin, but I do not think the plastic-y taste of pudding mix can be disguised. The cakes pictured in the cookbook all look very beautiful, but I can’t imagine going to all the trouble of baking and leveling and frosting a layer cake only for it to taste like preservatives.   And seriously what is so hard about sifting together some flour, baking powder and salt and measuring out sugar?  Because that’s all that’s really saved by using a cake mix. And that’s the easiest part of making a layer cake!  I guess I can understand that a housewife in the mid-20th century who absolutely, positively had to have a dessert ready for dinner might need to resort to a cake mix once in awhile.  I get that.  But in early 21st century America cakes are usually baked only for special occasions.  And if an occasion is special enough to deserve a cake, it’s special enough to take the 4 extra minutes to measure out and mix together the dry ingredients your very own self.  Small investment for a large return.

It occurs to me that some may think me rather hypocritical to be excited about a corn muffin mix and so down on cake mixes.  But cornbread does not hold a special a place in my heart like cake does.  Also, I haven’t found cornmeal at Walgreens, so I’m makin do.  That’s a good sounding excuse anyway.


One Response to “Mystery (possibly) Solved!”

  1. Perrin July 9, 2010 at 3:49 pm #

    We have self-rising corn meal and flour in our grocery stores in Atlanta, but I’ve never used either. Apparently, the self-rising flour expedites biscuit-baking. We also have plenty of corn muffin mix. Would you believe that I know a native Atlantan who had the nerve to call corn bread made from a mix “home-made”? Sheesh.

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