Give me an excuse to imbibe large quantities of dairy and fried finger food and I’ll take take it! Honestly I can’t remember the last time I watched the Super Bowl, much less attended a Super Bowl party, but I do know that one alternative to a sit down with Brene Brown or the dalai lama or John Travolta or whatever the hell Oprah does on Super SOUL Sunday is to grab hold of a wooden spoon and stir some wet ingredients — eggs, milk, melted butter — into dry.
Working a simple, humble dough like that does wonders for my soul. I can, with some authority, declare that wielding that spoon in the sweet spot between undermixed and ever-so-lightly scooped together trumps all the insight I might glean from a talk therapy session. Making cornbread in the simple, unfrivolous way that cornbread begs to be made, is what some mental health professionals might call a “somatic” practice — that is, of the body, lifegiving in both a literal and figurative sense, not unlike rigorous exercise.
Ina Garten’s jalapeno cheddar version is unpretentious in that it only requires two bowls, but it is also thoughtful in its inclusion of 4 Tablespoons (or 1/4 cup) of granulated sugar and an extra 20 minutes of wait time while all the flavors — including freshly minced scallions and jalapeno — mingle before you spread into the baking dish.
If you are jalapeno-shy, like me, you can substitute extra scallions for the hot pepper. The result, dear reader, is a moist, cheesy delight with a hint of a… kick.