I prefer winter and Fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show. ~Andrew Wyeth

Monday, October 17, 2011


A friend gave me this book last year and it's a good one. It is filled with a lot of recipes that were brought West by the 49er's and folks that came here to start a new life. Interesting stories about how the early settlers got here and brought their favorite recipes with them.
It's a cookbook and a history book all in one. It was publish in 1952. The year my sister was born.
Hey, Sis. I thought you were 39! No, that can't be right because I'm only 49. No... that can't be right because my oldest son is 41. Oh, this isn't working well anymore. We may have to get older... *#&%@. I will call you soon.
Here is one recipe, in the book, that I had never heard of but I thought the name was kind of catchy so last night I decided to make it. It looked really easy.
I didn't have any leftover rice so I made some earlier in the day. 
I took a good look at the recipe first. I've been known to start a recipe without looking to see if I have all the ingredients. Since we live in the middle of nowhere and don't have "next door" neighbors, I try to be sure and have everything I need before I start cooking or baking. The chickens and the goats have heard me shout..."Oh no. I don't have any bla, bla, bla." So, I always check first.
Here's the recipe...
I did have everything I needed. I used 1% milk. and Polenta in place of the corn meal. It's a little grainier than corn meal but I like the texture. I'm Italian... mostly, so I always have Polenta in the cupboard.
My helpers were in place... sometimes I call it "underfoot".
Cutter (on the left) is always in the kitchen when I am. He's my main man when I'm cooking. Carl (on the rug) doesn't usually show up until dinner is on the table. That's why he looks a little like he's not suppose to be there.
Yesterday they were both anxiously waiting for whatever was going to happen.
I preheated the oven to 350 degrees,  got a bowl and mixed all the ingredients together and poured the mixture into a glass 9X12 pan. I told you this was easy...
Be sure to spray the pan with a non stick spray of some kind. Egg mixes tend to stick if you don't.
"Bake until nicely brown" ended up being  about 30 mins. I checked at 20 minutes but I continued baking the bread for 10 more minutes. It's suppose to be thin and crispy. With a 10 in. pie pan, the bread would have been thicker and might have required more baking time. At 30 mins. the bread was brown, crispy and done.
I cut it into pieces and piled them on a plate for dinner.
We ate this with some steak and Broccoli. It was delicious!

It reminded me of something from my childhood but I knew that I had never eaten Philpy.
Until Breakfast...
We had leftovers and when I took the Philpy out of the refrigerator, it seems like I had done this before. 
Way back in my memory was this picture of my mother cutting up Polenta, from the night before, frying it in a pan and serving it to us with butter and syrup.
Oh yes. This was the memory that had been calling to me.. 
This recipe was a little different. Mom's Polenta didn't have milk or rice in it.
But... when I covered pieces of Philpy with butter and popped them into the microwave for a minute and then poured some syrup over them. Oh my. Did I have a rush of nostalgia. 
Philpy is heavier because of the rice but the taste and the flavor was so similar to fried Polenta. It just took me right back to my Mom's kitchen on a Saturday morning. It was a plateful of sweetness and wonderful memories just sitting there waiting for me. 
I could even here my Dad saying " Pass the butter or I'll walk right down the middle of the table."
He never did, of course, and then he'd say, "Jackie, this is so good. Can I have some more please?".... and my sister and I would laugh and the whole world was happy. 
I have never figured out how we had so much left over Polenta if we ate most of it for dinner the night before. Maybe Mom made a double batch so we would have enough for breakfast.
  I looked it up and some recipes for Philpy don't have corn meal in them.  Some say that it has "Southern" roots and is what poor people ate. Some recipes add a little flour. Some use wild rice. Some use shredded cheese and spices. I think you could just about use anything you wanted to as long as you keep the basics the same.
Enjoy the recipe. It's really a good staple for dinner.
It's inexpensive, quick and very good.

Buon Apetite!


  1. nice...this sounds good...i have had that polenta for breakfast too...sounds fascinating on the book with all the history...

  2. I love the older cookbooks that have stories intertwined with the recipes. This one sounds interesting to me and I may just put it on the menu for the weekend.

  3. I wrote the recipe down and will give it a try. It sounds like one could create many variations on this theme!:) How nice it must have felt to call up your parents and Saturday mornings with them. I love how smells can do that, or just some moment when everything falls together and there you are in another moment long ago.

    I love cornbread with syrup and this sounds similar. And although I've never made polenta the traditional way, I do enjoy it as a side dish very much.

    Buddy loves to be where the action is, too, and always on the kitchen floor when I'm cooking or baking. Carl and Cutter look so sweet there.

  4. We have a lot in common, I thought I was the only one who had fried polenta for breakfast when I was a kid, lots of syrup, boy was it good. Thanks for sharing this recipe with us, sounds good and like you said easy to make. Have a blessed day. Madeline

  5. Well this does sound yummy and looks scrumptious. Thanks for sharing. Those nostalgic moments are so fun and can bring up such good memories. Enjoy!

  6. what a sweet post. I was thinking it would be like a dense moist corn bread with the rice in it. a good way to use up grains. But my favorite is your story about your Dad, walking down the middle of the table. Sounds just like sumthin my hunny would say.
    The cook book sounds delightful!


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