My husband and I were married a few days before the Greek economic crisis erupted in the international media. Although he was still on the little island, I was back in Athens where I would stay for another month before we could officially move in together. That month, May 2010, was when it hit us that things were going to have to change. No more carelessly buying a bottle of water from a street vendor when we were thirsty, no more meeting friends at a cafe and ordering a cappuccino with a cookie, and no more running to the nearest supermarket to pick up a few things for dinner.
Like many people who decide to become more frugal, we had to do it in a hurry. Comparison shopping and sale stalking replaced carefree dates with girlfriends at Starbucks. And a whole long list of foods we were used to buying became blacklisted. Breakfast cereal – cornflakes specifically – were at the top of the list.
Why something so mundane and ancient as the cornflake, a humble crumb of cornmeal and flour smushed together and baked, should be expensive, I never understood. But a small box of cornflakes went for 4.95 euros, or $6.58 in US dollars. From the mindless ‘oh, I eat that, throw it in the cart’ of my pre-crisis days, cornflakes were just simply not allowed in our house.
My new husband complained. He loved cornflakes. Especially the ones that were dipped in chocolate. I reminded him that they were expensive beyond all reason, far more expensive than fresh fish on a per kilo basis, and he let it go. Today, I am happy to say, I am able to reintroduce cornflakes into our diet – handcrafted cornflakes full of love but, alas, none of the vitamins that the cereal companies enrich them with. (How do they do that, anyway?)
I found the recipe on Leda Meredith’s site Leda’s Urban Homestead. I made a few minor changes, but the recipe is based on hers, which she notes is based on Mark Bittman’s recipe.
The recipe is simple but it calls for two pieces of specialized equipment: a food processor, which you probably have, and a pasta maker, which you might not. If you don’t have a pasta maker, get one right this minute – er, use a rolling pin. It’s more work but the results are pretty close.
Work directly in the food processor bowl. I halved the recipe because I have a mini food processor. Put all purpose flour, (you can use whole wheat flour if you like – I was too lazy to grind it today) cornmeal, salt, and olive oil in the food processor.
Run it for a few seconds to mix everything together.
In a cup, stir the honey into the boiling water and pour into the food processor.
Run the processor. Add water, a teaspoon at a time, until it forms a mildly sticky and pliable dough. (Don’t be tempted to put in more than a teaspoon at a time. Honestly.)
Dust a baking sheet with cornmeal. Dust two if you have two. I have only one. Preheat your oven to 160 degrees C. Get out your pasta maker. I dusted mine with cornmeal first before using, just to prevent sticking.
Small pieces of dough can go through the pasta maker starting on the largest (#1) setting. I did these up to setting #3, but I would recommend you go even higher if you can. The thinner the dough, the better the result.
Arrange your rolled dough on the baking sheet.
Bake for about 25 minutes.
The world’s largest cornflakes. Break up into pieces and serve with milk!
Thyme Honey Cornflakes
1.5 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp Greek thyme honey
1/4 cup very hot water
1. Combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, and olive oil in the food processor. Process til combined.
2. Separately, stir honey into very hot water and pour diluted honey into processor. Process, adding water 1 tsp at a time, until the dough is a soft, pliable, and slightly sticky consistency.
3. Dust two baking sheets with cornmeal and preheat oven to 160 degrees C.
4. Remove dough from food processor and cut into small pieces. Pass each piece through pasta maker from setting #1 to setting #4 or higher if possible. Lay out dough on baking sheet.
5. Bake for 25 minutes. Allow to cool, then break into pieces with hands. Serve with milk.
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