Friday, December 7, 2012

Willa Cather's birthday with cornbread and tea

Today is the birthday of Willa Cather! I've been reading her novels all year long, taking the 2012 Willa Cather Novel Reading Challenge hosted by WildmooBooks

Here is a list of Willa Cather's twelve novels with links to my Goodreads reviews.   

I was going to make a fancy dessert to celebrate but decided upon a simple tea time snack in homage to Cather's Southern roots. This cornbread and tea combination is based on her final novel, Sapphira and the Slave Girl. Food is very important in this historical drama, set in Old Virginia. Cornbread is the stuff of slaves, unlike "light bread" made of wheat flour, which confers a higher social distinction and goes to the slave owners' tables.

The black tea is rum-less. In the novel, the protagonist Sapphira pours tea for her husband, "smuggling in a good tot of Jamaica rum." This is her secret weapon for coping with domestic unhappiness. Her husband is taken aback: "That's why it tastes so good! I must try to get up here oftener when you're having your tea."

The cornbread recipe (from Lindsay S. Nixon via Nava Atlas' VegKitchen website) is quick and simple. Not overly sweet and with a good texture. I think Willa Cather would approve.

1 comment:

Chris Wolak said...

I love this, Lydia! Will have to try the cornbread recipe!