He went to look through my American cookbooks, and was very disappointed to find out that not one of them had a recipe for corn dogs. Not even the fabulous White Trash Cooking. Undeterred, he went onto Google and found me a wide selection of recipes for corn dogs. But all involved deep frying and ingredients hard to source in the East End of London.
"I SO want to go to America," he said plaintively. "I would LOVE American junk food."
No doubt he would.
"But there is so much more to American food than junk food!" I exclaimed.
He rolled his eyes.
"Yeah - I know. You tell us that ALL the time."
A small exaggeration.
But it made me think I should cook more American recipes. The year I spent at college there, and the business trips I took there, all have so many good food memories for me. And I know I bang on about it to the children all the time, but there is so much more to great American cooking than hamburgers - very good though they are. I've loved watching the new series of Jamie Oliver's cullinary adventures. The episode where he travelled through the southern states brought back so many good memories - recipes for buttermilk biscuits, collard greens, proper barbequed pork and grits all had me shouting excitedly at the tele. I remember those!
So Friday night's supper became an American supper.
- Maple roast chicken from Nigella Express
- Corn on the cob
- Home fries
- Freshly baked buttermilk biscuits to mop up all the good maple syrup gravy from the chicken.
Buttermilk biscuits are a plain, savoury scone, made with buttermilk, and served as an accompaniment to savoury dishes. They are the perfect match to a plateful of gravy! The recipe I use is from Sheila Lukin's USA Cookbook.
Sheila Lukin's Buttermilk Biscuits
- 2 cups plain flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening (I use Trex)
- 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
- 1 cup buttermilk (I usually use half a cup of plain yogurt mixed with half a cup of milk)
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Cut the butter and shortening into small pieces and add to the bowl. Rub the fat into the flour with your fingers until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Pour in the buttermilk and toss the ingredients together with your fingers until they can be gathered up into a ball.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead very briefly (not more than 12 strokes). Pat the dough out to about 2cm thick. Using a sharp, round biscuit cutter cut out rounds, gathering up the scraps and re-patting out as necessary. You should get between 8 and 12 biscuits, depending on the size of your cutter. Put on a baking sheet and bake at Gas 7 for 10 to 12 minutes. Serve hot, split open and slathered with good butter or dunked in some gravy.
And for some more inspiration, these are the American cookbooks I own. I recommend them all.
- From Anna's Kitchen (Plain and Fancy Vegetarian Menus) by Anna Thomas
- White Trash Cooking by Ernest Matthew Mickler
- Around the American Table by Michael Krondl
- Jim Fobel's Old Fashioned Baking Book
- Sheila Lukin's USA Cookbook
- Jamie's America
- Many of Nigella Lawson's books have some good American recipes in them.
We also love to eat blueberry pancakes, sloppy joe, burritos and homemade burgers. What American dishes or cookbooks do you enjoy? I'd love to get some more ideas. But maybe not corn dogs.