Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I am overly invested in this topic

I was wondering, how many of you have tried the Smitten Kitchen's chicken and dumplings recipe? It's terribly good, with the correct kind of dumplings: globs of biscuity dough.

John came home from a trip to South Carolina last year talking about the delicious chicken and dumplings he'd eaten while there, and the dumplings he described to me were like big, square pieces of noodle! BLASPHEMY! We had such an argument about it. You laugh, but I'm not joking. He claims that chicken and dumplings is a traditional Southern dish, so therefore the Southern woman who made it for him must know what she's doing. My rebuttal is that though noodley dumplings may be a variation, they are certainly not canonical, and even if they are, they're still wrong. EVERY recipe I've ever seen for chicken and dumplings has had biscuity dumplings. And maybe those are all Yankee recipes, I'm sure I don't know, since I'm a Western girl myself. But I do know this: why would I take dumpling advice from the culture that brought us dry, salty, crumbly cornbread? Soft, moist, cakey cornbread with a hint of sweetness, or failing that, corn pudding, is so OBVIOUSLY the better method, anyone who disagrees simply appears ridiculous. I don't know why it's even discussed. Some lovely people we met from South Carolina (the maker of the noodley dumplings, actually) eat their cornbread fried, which I would be willing to sample, but I go no further. Ridiculous.

I'm sure the dish was excellent--it sounds excellent. I would love to eat some of Michelle's chicken and dumplings someday. But like David Sedaris and the rubber hand, I will go to my grave averring that it's a sport of the pure chicken and dumplings line.

Go buy some leeks and make the Smitten Kitchen version. And you'll finish the entire pan of it because your mouth won't let you stop eating it. Unless you have more willpower than I.


tipsybaker said...

I have eaten the type of dumplings your husband described, and I have never forgotten the experience. I hate to say this: it was the best chicken and dumplings I've ever tasted.
But I am so glad you are sticking up for non-Southern cornbread. I completely agree with you on that one.

highdeekay said...

I have to agree with John. Those noodley kind ARE southern but that is where I stop. The biscuity kind (as long as they are done well) are SO MUCH BETTER!

I think Phil likes the southern version better though.

I don't get it.

As for cornbread, call me a heathen, but I think Jiffy makes a pretty good cornbread!

All8 said...

I concur with you. Dumplings Should be biscuity but I do love a savory chicken and homemade noodle soup. We're not South enough here to know which is the preferred variation. IMO, the noodles need to be pretty thin though because they expand.

I do know that not only do they make their cornbread crumbly and whatnot, they also crumble it into a cup or bowl, pour milk over the top of it and eat away. I think you might be meaning Spoon Bread when you talk about Corn Pudding. I'm not a fan of that either. (Too custardy for me.) But give me a sweetish, soft cornbread baked in the oven in a cast iron skillet that contains either bacon grease or butter (about 1/4 cup) and I'm all yours.

Layne said...

Oh, spoon bread . . . (drooling). . .