Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Clown Bread at the Clown Motel

NaNoWriMo 2015 Research for YA Novel Roger and the Lightyear Mass in Tonopah NV Clown Motel
My grandmother had a treat she offered to good grandchildren as a reward for completing a chore. She called it clown bread.

Grandma made clown bread the same way her own British grandmother had made it, with cornmeal, red and black currants, and coriander seeds, and sweetened it with molasses.

My mother made her clown bread for school bake sales and church-social platters. Mom swapped two colors of raisins for the original currants, and substituted poppy seeds for the coriander kind. Her cornbread base was sweetened with ordinary white sugar in the time I lived at home. (I heard from younger siblings that her recipe had used Splenda in later years.)

Knowing that we planned to be at the Clown Motel in Nevada this last weekend, I made a big tray of clown bread to take along as journey fare, and to share at the campfire in the Berlin Ichthyosaur Park. Mine was sweetened with sage honey, and boasted cran-raisins and amaranth seeds from our "farm." The amaranth and sage honey gave the clown bread a noticeably floral aroma. 

I use amaranth seeds wherever a recipe calls for poppy seeds, so I knew they would work well. I wasn't prepared for the pronounced scent, though, nor the definite "crumb-y" texture they gave the clown bread. This did delight the pigeon flock at one picnic ground we stopped at on our way into Tonopah!

We shared clown bread for breakfast with the hotel staff (Pam and her cleaning buddy), and split between us some jalepeño baked potatoes with cheese as a side dish. The potatoes also came from our farm, the last burgeoning of the plants under the taller flowers.