I must have about 200 cookbooks, or more. I used to collect them like I collected pans or things for my kitchen. These days, I’m wanting simplicity in everything. I don’t cook as much as I did in the past. Lately it’s hard to even want to consume.
I’ve made cornbread so many different ways over the years, but you know what?
Last week I saw this little box again. It was cheerful.
It was 44 cents.
My mother used to buy this mix. Like she bought Spaghetti O’s for my little brother because he loved them.
I got it. I bought two of these little boxes because they made me smile in the middle of the biggest environmental tragedy the world has ever seen. Ever.
One small smile.
Everything about the little box was lovable. It hasn’t changed. It’s like the 30’s. Or the 60’s.
It reminds me of women in the Great Depression or cheery aprons printed with apples and red and white checks and safety, and Americanism. It reminds me of good scents wafting from kitchens.
As I think about this little box of corn muffin mix, the packaging is simple — and recyclable.
I loved the waxed paper inside, too. Tucked and folded, just like it always looked.
This is how all packaging should be done. Over again.
In the 60’s as a child all we had were wax paper and glass and cardboard. These things are natural — not manufactured, and not plastic.
The ingredients inside are like that too.
There was a time in America when there weren’t so many products clogging the grid and damaging the sea with their packaging. There was a time in America when women snuck muffins like these to the poor in our country. There was a time in America when we were loved for our idealism and not for our greed.
I love everything about this little box, and what was inside it.
I love the fact that they had several recipes you could try.
I love what they said about how to make the muffins have a higher crown.
So, I baked them in little paper cups decorated with 60’s flowers.
And they looked and tasted like the best parts of my childhood, when the world was fair and good to itself. And Kennedy was our President.
And I give thanks for this little box of Jiffy Muffins.
I give thanks for the fact that they have existed so long, without changing — like everything else has. It’s more than nostalgia.
I give thanks that they are this simple, this straightforward, this American and this good, because they were. And are.
I think about the fact that once upon a time people in this country all ate the same kind of cornbread and everyone paid the same kind of price for it, and there wasn’t a tiered food chain where the rich and the poor ate at separate tables.