Howdy! Welcome to the first ever virtual Cook’s Country Fair. With a cornucopia of agriculture-themed posts and down-home cooking competitions, for 12 weeks we’ll pay homage to our rural roots and those who taught us to enjoy good, simple food. We’ve got our summer jam-packed with fun stories, blue-ribbon winning recipes, and exciting giveaways. Each week we’ll be asking you, our fans, to share your personal stories in our comments, and we’ll pick a new story each week to be our winner. We hope you’ll join us for the festivities every Thursday afternoon from June to September!
“Bread is the warmest, kindest of all words. Write it always with a capital letter, like your own name.” — Russian café poster
Growing up, my mother taught me how to make her simple, sweet and cakey version of pan de campo, also known as Cowboy Bread, and she also handed down a long-held practice of Southern hospitality: sharing. Her recipe made two loaves, one of which was always walked next door to the neighbor’s house or taken to someone who needed a little pick-me-up. To this day, I never make a loaf of Cowboy Bread without making a second batch (or a pan of muffins) to share with someone else.
Photo: Jenni Konrad
From the very beginning, bread was meant to be shared. The Latin origins of the word companion translates to with bread and once signified someone with which bread was shared. Throughout the course of edible history, bread became an integral part of each and every culture. Every region has its own special type of bread; corn-based breads from South America; thin, flat breads like roti and naan in India; and France can boast about at least a dozen different types of yeast breads. Need more proof of the power of bread? The word for bread in several modern languages (pan in Spanish, pain in French) is a derivation on the spelling of the Latin word panem. And, the use of Greek prefix “pan-” before words like “pan-American” and “pan-cultural” means all-inclusive or of everything, which refers to the fact that bread is one of the oldest and truly universal foods.
Since America is a culinary and cultural melting pot, we have a baker’s dozen (and many more) varieties of breads to bake, share, and eat. From the breadbasket in the Great Plains to the skillet breads of the South, everyone can have their bread, and eat it too! Such diversity explains why Country Fair Bread Competitions often represent a cornucopia of categories—ranging from yeast doughs to quick breads—in a variety of sweet and savory flavors. Rising to the occasion, we’re bringing you a selection of bread recipes this week at the (virtual) Cook’s Country Fair.
HOW THE COOK’S COUNTRY FAIR WORKS
Every Thursday this summer, we’ll post a new story on the Feed. We scoured our baking racks to bring you some of our favorite recipes including Cracklin’ Cornbread, Beer-Batter Cheese Bread, Cinnamon Swirl Bread, and Zucchini Bread.
MAKE IT NOW
SHOW AND TELL
HOW TO WIN THIS WEEK’S GIVEAWAY
We’re giving away a copy of The Complete Cook’s Country TV Show Cookbook! Want to win? Leave a comment below describing your favorite type of home-baked bread and we’ll pick one cookbook winner. Entries due Wednesday, July 24, 2013, 11:59pm EST. Giveaway for continental US residents only.
LAST WEEK’S WINNER
Congratulations to Denis, who made us smile with his story about tending cows in the Irish countryside, and won a copy of The Complete Cook’s Country TV Show Cookbook! Thank you to all who shared their dairy-fresh stories; read them all here.