I’m going to talk to you about corn. I am.
But there’s so much else to say today. This life is some kinda crazy.
It’s complicated, busy, hard, and then the clouds clear and the sun comes out, until it swings back the other way again. It’s always a balance, but it seems to come in seasons, right? And I have to tell you. This has just been a really hard season for so many of our people.
Last night we attended the funeral for Bjork’s precious aunt Glori, to celebrate the full and joyful life she lived and the mark she left on the world. Glori was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease at age 53 and after living with it for more than five years, she left this physical world and went home. She will be remembered for being smart, like, college professor smart, and funny, with a loud and confident laugh, and movie-star beautiful. When I think about her, I always just think about her name. Glori. Can’t you just imagine her?
I’m writing a little about Glori today because her story is on my heart, and it’s hard to write about something, ahem Thanksgiving corn pudding, when your heart is full with something so much deeper. I’m also sharing about her because I think stories like Glori’s remind us about what’s important and inspire us to live better.
“She liked being reminded of butterflies. She remembered being six or seven and crying over the fates of the butterflies in her yard after learning that they lived for only a few days. Her mother had comforted her and told her not to be sad for the butterflies, that just because their lives were short didn’t mean they were tragic. Watching them flying in the warm sun among the daisies in their garden, her mother had said to her, see, they have a beautiful life. Alice liked remembering that.”
This beautiful quote is from a book called Still Alice by Lisa Genova about a woman living with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. I actually read this book a few years ago, when Glori was first diagnosed, and it was incredibly moving, probably mostly because the main character Alice reminded me so much of Glori. If you have an open heart to the experiences of people living with dementia and a box of Kleenex at the ready, I highly recommend it. Highly, highly.
I guess it all kind of comes full circle in a weird Thanksgiving corn pudding kind of way because this is a recipe that will most likely be shared during the holidays with family and friends as we celebrate the things we’re thankful for. Things like comforting food, time with our favorite people, and health.
This recipe is actually a variation old favorite from our neighbors growing up in small town Minnesota. The original version had a box of Jiffy mix and a nice heaping cup of sour cream. For this new version, healthy is a stretch, but it has a made-from-scratch cornmeal base and Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. And BOOM. It still embodies the delicious home baked creamy corn pudding thing. Two thumbs up.
We’re talking buttery, creamy, just slightly sticky and a little bit sweet, and the golden onion crunchification of the top layer is a force to be reckoned with. Corn pudding is my contribution to family Thanksgiving this year, and with our crew, we always, always, always, always eat the whole pan. None left. Always. It’s a crowd-pleaser and there’s no getting around it.
Happy early Thanksgiving to you! I’m grateful that we can share real life.
- ⅔ cup yellow cornmeal
- ⅔ cup flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 cup light sour cream or Greek yogurt (I used a half cup of each)
- ½ cup salted butter, melted
- 1 egg
- 1 15-ounce can regular corn, drained
- 1 15-ounce can cream style corn
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1½ cups crispy onions (I buy the ones in the salad section)
- ½ cup fresh chopped parsley or other herb of choice
- Preheat the oven to 350. Combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and oil in a bowl. Work the mixture with a fork until no longer clumpy.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the Greek yogurt, sour cream, butter, and egg until smooth. Add the corn, cream corn, and dry mix from step one, and stir until just combined.
- Pour into a greased 9x13 baking dish and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, top with crispy onions, and return to oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with herbs before serving.
Okay, one more thing. I timed myself to see how long it took to actually put this together? On the prep end, 7 minutes and 13 seconds. Heck yes.