Cornmeal flatbread

Cornmeal flatbread

This may come as a big surprise, but despite the fact that I’m the lady authoress of a vegetarian food blog, and that I celebrate the ordinary in food, art, and life, and that I’d like to redefine “success” to rate compassion for people and animals over financial gain (wouldn’t you like to see a sort of “world’s wealthiest” list of people who are kind to their dogs, rather than people who have accrued a lot of money?) – despite all of these factors, I’ve never interned for Paul Ryan. I know! Weird, right? We’re a perfect match. Consequently, I’ve never read any Ayn Rand. I have, however, watched some youTube videos of interviews with her, which, I think you’ll agree, makes me something of a modern day expert. I must confess, I’m very puzzled. I cannot fathom why anybody would espouse her views. She seems like a sad and dangerous sociopath, to me. This is my highly nuanced and expert view. It just doesn’t make sense to me that anybody would admire her, and that those people would achieve what we now know as success, in politics or life. I’m befuddled, because I hear a lot of people very angrily shouting about self-reliance and criticizing the poor and unfortunate. I hear it at my work, where the very loud angry people would go down and sort out those clowns in Washington, if they could get off their bar stool. I hear it in clips of debates, in which people yell, “let him die!” I see it on Fox news, which they watch at work sometimes. But I’ve never really seen it in the actions of individuals. Most people I know are kind and charitable. Everybody loves It’s a Wonderful Life! People like helping other people – it makes them happy to do it. They join together to help people who have had an accident, or fallen on a patch of bad luck. This is all people, regardless of nationality or political identity. Sure, there are bullies – there are insecure people who beat up on others because they feel bad about themselves, but nobody admires them. They might consider themselves strong, and the people they abuse weak, but few people would agree with them. When Rand said that weak people don’t deserve to be loved (which is a tiny part of a clip that I saw, in my extensive youTube research), you have to feel sorry for her. Because we’re all weak, sometimes. Everybody is. But surely nobody is more weak than the person surrounding herself with hate and scorn and self-interest, and cutting herself off from compassion and kindness.

I apologize for getting nearly political here. I know it’s not the place. But I feel quite upset about this, so I’ve got to talk about it! You know what’s comforting? Flatbread. Making it and eating it. I made this flatbread with some cornmeal, some thyme, and some mozzarella. I thought it was delicious. A nice crispy/chewy texture. They’re not cheesy, exactly, but they have a nice flavor of cheese, and it helps to make them less dry. The boys loved it, too. We ate it with grilled vegetables, sliced tomatoes, spicy fried potatoes, and a big big salad. It’s not hard to make, but it is one of those pleasant do a little bit all day long types of dish. It was nice fresh with dinner, and nice the next day toasted with scrambled eggs.

Here’s Billy Bragg with The Milkman of Human Kindness

1 t sugar
1 t yeast
1 cup flour
1 cup warm water

1 1/2 cups corn meal
2 cups flour
1 t salt
1 t thyme
1 egg
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
3 T olive oil + some for the pan
1/2 cup more wamr water

Combine the sugar, yeast, flour and water in a medium-sized bowl, cover and leave for about half an hour to get bubbly.

In a large bowl, combine corn meal, flour, salt and thyme. Make a hole in the center and add the egg, olive oil, cheese, and bubbly yeast mixture. Add about 1/2 cup more warm water, enough to pull it into a sticky dough. I made it quite wet. You’re going to want to knead/stir it as much as possible, despite it’s wetness. You could do this in your food processor, or use a light touch with your hands. I kept mine in the bowl, and used wet hands, stirring and folding until it no longer stuck to my hands so much. About 5 minutes should do it.

Cover with a damp cloth and leave for 1 1/2 to 2 hours to double in bulk, as they say.

Fold/punch it down and leave it for about another hour.

Preheat the oven to 500. Spread an even layer of olive oil on two baking sheets. Divide the dough into portions, and spread them on the sheet, making ovals – I think I fit three per baking sheet. It seems difficult to shape at first, but once it’s got some oil on it, it behaves very nicely!

Bake for about 20 minutes, till it’s nicely browned and a bit puffy – turn once or twice to brown both sides.

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