Monday, October 31, 2011

Honey, tea's ready!

I have this thing for honey. Isn't it a funny word? We use it, at least in my house, constantly.
"Honey, I'm home!"
"Hi honey bun!"
"Honey, the tea's ready!"
"Would you like some honey in your tea?"

Since childhood, I've often preferred honey on things as opposed to conventional white sugar. When I moved to North Texas, this thing grew into immense appreciation, considering this particular area is one of, if not the worst, place for seasonal allergies.
I'd NEVER had allergies before then. I hadn't known what had hit me. My first spring in college was spent in a hazy fog of pollen and sinus headaches. While at the grocery store one day, I was looking for peanut butter and came across a trove of honey brands. I began reading and stumbled onto a a local honey bottle.

Suddenly, my father's and grandmother's voices sounded in my head like a drill sergeant's, "local honey is good for allergies." Being dutiful to the reminiscent voices, I obeyed and call it true or psychological placebo effect, it worked.

Which brings me to my semester abroad. The first three months was nothing but rain and clouds. Not the vicious thunderstorms of Texas, but a constant, Eeyore-like drizzle, to which there was no end. I took honey in my tea, out of habit, but was shocked at the flavor. It makes sense that it would taste differently, I was on the other side of the planet for goodness sake, but I hadn't anticipated such a drastic difference in something as simple as my beloved sweetener.

I slowly became accustomed to the taste and discovered a new trove of, not just brands, but flavors. Honey from the Alps, dark and strong from conifer pollen, Fleur d'oranger, sweet and calm, and a number of others from Spain, Germany, and Italy with vastly different flavors as well.

When I returned home, Texas's honey was so subtle and light, compared to the latter ones. Recently, I bought an organic brand of unfiltered honey (I always buy unfiltered, it's just better). I hadn't realized that it was from Brazil. Opening the lid, I was almost sent off my feet with the strong smell and flavor.

Delicious as it is, not much is needed. Thinking of all of the rain forest flowers and tropical fruits whose pollen made it into the honey, it's no wonder that it is strong.

Regardless of this wonderful flavor I found, that simple, subtle Texas honey must always be sitting in my pantry. In light of picking some up the other day, I decided to make cornbread. It seemed like the perfect thing to do right after a cold front blew its way into my neck of the woods.

Baked o perfection, cornbread, like honey, always makes me feel comfortable and at home. I usually bake a 9in pan and just lay a kitchen rag or cheese cloth over it to keep the bugs off. It's nice to come home from a long day and warm up a piece, put a bit of butter in the middle and drizzle some Texas honey over it.

Here's the recipe I used:

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/3 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Mix all of the dry ingredients together.
Stir in wet contents.
Butter or grease the pan.
Pour batter into 9 in pan
Bake 20-25 min.



  1. I'm stealing your cornbread recipe again tonight!
    I'm making a pot roast in my slow-cooker, garlic-mashed potatoes, sweet corn, and sweet peas. I love the cornbread recipe! I'd invite you over, but you hate beef. J'taime bien, ma amie! Keep up the blog posts.

  2. I am a bit of a Pooh bear myself when it comes to honey! I am working on my Beekeeping badge with MJF and learning so much. I love all the different flavors different flowers and tree's nectar lend to it.
    I would love to try some from the Alps!