There is a lot more on my mind these days than Thanksgiving. This blog is meant to be all about food, and up until recently that has been an easy boundary to maintain. But, I can't stick to that right now. Sorry. If you've had enough election talk or are on a "news" break, feel free to click the link above to skip straight to the recipe. So, without further ado....
I will be blunt. I did not vote for Donald Trump and I have an extremely difficult time even saying the word "president" before his name. I find everything about him offensive. I am saddened by and angry that the United States would rather have a misogynistic, xenophobic, lying, science-denying, racist egomaniac as its president than a very, very, very (did I say VERY?) qualified woman. I do take it as that. I know, I know... the Democratic Party did make mistakes during the campaign and I know many people (I would argue, unfairly) still associate Hillary Clinton with her husband. But, really??? Maybe Hillary Clinton was not the perfect candidate, but how-- HOW????-- was Donald Trump MORE perfect than her????
This comes down to racism and xenophobia (backlash against Obama) and sexism. People who dislike Clinton have disliked her since before she was First Lady, since she said she wouldn't participate in a cookie-baking contest because she was busy working. I don't want this to turn into a political blog, but if we don't denounce prejudice when we see it, it is the same as saying it is o.k.
Although I do not like who we elected, I recognize that this is the way our democracy works. I will never be able to refer to Trump as "my president, " however I will recognize him as the president of the United States. But, that is where my courtesy will end. Our democracy depends on a peaceful transition of power... but, our democracy also depends on people like you and me speaking up whenever and wherever we experience or find discrimination-- discrimination based on race, ethnicity, religion, sexual identity, gender, or any other perceived "difference."
America is built on freedom for all and I fear that this will not always be the case beginning in Jan. 2017. I admit I've had my moments when I felt it was time to leave the country-- how can I raise my kids here with Trump as president? But beyond being unfeasible, I know that I have to stay-- we all have to stay, particularly those among us who are not as directly affected by Trump's offensive beliefs. I agree wholeheartedly with Eric March of Upworthy when he argues we must stay here because
"we need votes for politicians who oppose Trump's agenda. We need people to stand in the streets when he tries to deport our colleagues and friends. We need an on-point team to make sure that this weird national freakout only lasts four years.... it's time for the American machine — of checks and balances, of free speech and a free press, and the great tradition of political protest — to answer."
What else can we do? If you haven't read the Leslie Knope "Letter to America," I highly recommend it. Her advice as to what we can do and why we have to do it for all our children, especially our daughters is worth a read.
Our president-elect is everything you should abhor and fear in a male role model. He has spent his life telling you, and girls and women like you, that your lives are valueless except as sexual objects. He has demeaned you, and belittled you, and put you in a little box to be looked at and not heard. It is your job, and the job of girls and women like you, to bust out.
You are going to run this country, and this world, very soon. So you will not listen to this man, or the 75-year-old, doughy-faced, gray-haired nightmare men like him, when they try to tell you where to stand or how to behave or what you can and cannot do with your own bodies, or what you should or should not think with your own minds. You will not be cowed or discouraged by his stream of retrogressive babble. You won’t have time to be cowed, because you will be too busy working and learning and communing with other girls and women like you. And when the time comes, you will effortlessly flick away his miserable, petty, misogynistic worldview like a fly on your picnic potato salad.
He is the present, sadly, but he is not the future. You are the future. Your strength is a million times his. Your power is a billion times his. We will acknowledge this result, but we will not accept it. We will overcome it, and we will defeat it."
And, I would argue that- yes- girls and women have a lot to do, but boys and men need to work with us. We cannot change the way our society thinks about us and our strengths if boys and men do not join us in this fight.
K, 'nuff said. Thank you Leslie Knope (I know she's a fictional character, but we just elected a reality tv star to be president, so why can't I quote a fictional tv character???) and Eric March. Now back to baking because, more than ever lately, I've found that baking and cooking centers me. I'm making something good to feed the people I love, to bring people together around the table, to share. And, that's all good.
This skillet cornbread is perfect for your Thanksgiving table this year. It's super-moist and not grainy or crumbly at all. You can use frozen sweet potatoes to make it even easier. Bonus, you can serve it still in the skillet which seems very hip and farm-to-table-y. Enjoy!
Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Skillet Cornbread, serves 8-12
- 1.5 cups plus 6 TBSPs yellow cornmeal
- 2 TBSPs baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 TBSPs granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 5 large eggs
- 2 cups sweet potatoes, (for simplicity's sake, I recommend buying frozen sweet potato, steaming and then mashing them)
- 8 oz. sour cream
- 8 TBSPs unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
If using frozen sweet potatoes, defrost the potatoes overnight in the fridge. The next day, steam the defrosted sweet potatoes until soft enough to pierce with a fork. While the potatoes are steaming, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Once the oven comes to 350, heat your 9" cast iron skillet in the oven for 10 minutes
While your skillet is heating, combine yellow cornmeal, baking powder, salt, sugar and pumpkin pie spice in a large bowl. Create a small well in the center. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, sour cream, and cooled melted butter. Mash the steamed sweet potatoes and add to the egg mixture, then add wet ingredients into the dry ingredients bowl and stir to fully combine. This will look pretty gross, but trust me... it tastes good when it all gets baked together.
Carefully butter your heated cast iron skillet and pour batter into skillet. Bake 30 minutes, rotating pan after 15 minutes. Bake another 10-20 minutes until the top of the cornbread turns golden, begins to crack, and is sort of hard when you tap it. The longer you leave the skillet in the oven, the crustier your cornbread will become. So, bake it how you like it.
This can be made earlier in the day Thanksgiving morning, covered with foil and reheated in the pan for dinner. Just give all your guests fair warning if the skillet is still hot when you bring it to the table. Nobody wants to get burned at the Thanksgiving table!