One of the things that most people don't realize, perhaps because I don't have an accent, is that I lived most of my adult life in the south. From 1976-1999 I lived in Tennessee and Georgia. One can see the influences of the south most prominently in my cooking. Self-rising flour and buttermilk are must have ingredients in my kitchen. (Whenever I'm down south I also try to bring home a jar of Duke's mayonnaise and I'm always on the lookout for boiled peanuts!)
I don't know many folks here in Iowa who know what to do with buttermilk. Its the ingredient that adds a tang and lightness to pancakes and makes biscuits out of this world...and yes, I make both from scratch. The Food Network website has 1065 recipes that call for buttermilk, in case you're curious about giving it a try.
The other cool thing about buttermilk is that one cup can last forever... all you have to do when you start to run low is add 'sweet' milk to the jar, let it sit out 24 hours and voila! More buttermilk. Yes, I keep a jar of buttermilk in my fridge. Because of the acid content in buttermilk it has a long shelf life. Sometimes the jar gets pushed to the back corner - but I know its there ready and waiting.
There is a lot of talk in church circles about un-churched and de-churched folk... people who may have been raised in the faith but left the church for one reason or another. I can't help but wonder if they are like my jar of buttermilk in the back of the fridge - waiting for an invitation - but it can't be just any old 'come to church' invite, it has to be something that will engage the senses, give meaning to life, or use gifts that have been forgotten for a season.
As much as we consider ourselves open and invitational, are we church-y folks really open minded enough to give these 'spiritual but not religious' folk the space they need to test the waters without being pushy? To give them room to taste and see and then trust that the Holy Spirit is the one who will do the heavy lifting? Are we secure enough in our faith to allow someone to push and prod and ask tough questions and wrestle with faith with fear and trembling? Have we even been bold enough to wrestle with our own faith, with the challenging questions about life and love and our responsibility in the world with God?
Hmmmm....lots to think about as we move forward as a church. Funny how a little jar of buttermilk can cause ones mind to dance this way and that.
Here's my recipe for pancakes - you do it all in a blender - fast, easy and MUCH better than the box kind!
In the blender place:
1/2 cup buttermilk
add 'sweet' milk to the 2 cup line
2 tsp sugar
1 heaping TBSP shortening (I use butter flavor crisco)
Add 2 cups self rising flour (must use self rising flour - all the stores have it - even in Iowa)
If too thick, add a bit more sweet milk till the right consistency.
Pour batter onto a hot griddle (325 degrees). Enjoy! They should be light and delicious - especially thanks to the buttermilk!
If you want to make more buttermilk, take a clean jar with a lid. Pour in atleast 1/2 cup buttermilk. Add 1- 1 1/2 cups sweet milk. Shake well and let sit on the counter or in a warm place about 24 hours - or till it starts to thicken up. It should coat the sides of the jar when its properly cultured. Refrigerate and enjoy.