the problem with buttermilk

here’s the problem with buttermilk: there’s too much of it.

i don’t mean existentially, in the world. i just mean in the carton. or bottle. they're too big. who needs a whole big container of buttermilk? i don’t. and i love buttermilk. but i’ve never seen a small container of it. ever.  and i spend a lot of time in grocery stores.

there are only so many things you can do with buttermilk before it goes bad, and you’ve got to be committed.

here are the things i made with one carton of buttermilk:
ice cream
cornbread cake
cornbread muffins
we went strawberry picking with friends and i imagined us in lovely hats in a giant field of plump fruit falling off the plant into our stained hands and then tumbling merrily into a giant bucket. 
i pictured my children with strawberry juice dripping from their mouths as they skipped along the endless rows. not so much. there weren’t so many ripe strawberries, it turned out, i forgot my lovely hat and both my children immediately removed theirs, my three year old ate all the best looking strawberries and the ones that were left weren’t exactly sweet, so the only thing to do with them was to roast them. and add sugar. and cream. and buttermilk. and turn them into ice cream.

our neighbors just had twins! a boy and a girl! so i had to bake for them, something quick they could just cut and shove in their mouths in two seconds because that’s all you have when you have new baby. and they have two new babies. i thought about cornbread because who doesn’t love cornbread? also i had buttermilk and blueberries. (a really good thing is that this recipe makes TWO cakes, so we got to eat one, too. it doesn't call for blueberries, but the batter was screaming for some. also, i skipped the frosting, though it looked utterly delicious)

my friend elly made strawberry rhubarb scones AND LEFT THEM AT MY DOOR AS A SURPRISE BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT SHE IS LIKE and they were delicious but i ate them all and then i needed more scones so i had to make more. and it’s almost a sin to not make scones when you have an abundance of buttermilk. either scones or biscuits. and then i ate all of those scones. because that's what happens. i didn't even take any pictures. so there's this one, instead.

my three-year-old has a friend who’s been sick recently with some scary stuff so we offered to make dinner for her lovely family and i thought COMFORT FOOD. obviously. i spent a lot of time trying to figure out what to make. lasagna, mac ‘n cheese, baked ziti, etc. but then i thought maybe they’ve had their fill of pasta and i made a kind of improvised vegetarian cassoulet with veggies, beans, quinoa, and a panko parsley parmesan topping. protein, right? and then i made these happy little kabobs with cucumber, watermelon, and mozzarella, because everyone knows eating food off a stick is better than eating food that’s not on a stick. josh told me he thought they were weird but i was still so proud of them. and for dessert i made peaches and cream and wondered all the while why i don’t make peaches and cream every day. and, of course, buttermilk cornbread muffins. because that’s comfort in the palm of your hand.
the truth is, my mom made the most delicious cornbread i’ve ever had and i can’t find the recipe. i know it had tons of butter and tons of sugar in it because there is simply no way it could have tasted that good without tons of butter and tons of sugar, but even knowing this i still haven’t been able to even get close. i'll keep trying though.  come to think of it, it probably didn’t even have a drop buttermilk in it…

anyway, that’s a lot of buttermilk baking, if you ask me.



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