After a distraction by a rather large mound of butter, I am happy to be posting the fourth installment of the Frida Kahlo series. Although I am a bit mad to even consider baking in this humid heat, I just couldn’t help myself – each little slice is a meal unto itself! The flavors meld perfectly: nutty semolina with the sour/spicy hit of the pickled jalapeños, tang of the sharp cheddar and sweetness of the toasted corn. Before my common sense kicked in I was pulling out my cast iron pot to make a batch of chili, the perfect accompaniment. I stopped short of turning my flat into a full fledged sauna and froze the remaining cornbread to be pulled out at the first hint of chill in the air.

I would also like to extend a thank you to Nikki of Art and Lemons and Dana of Real Food Rehab. Visit their respective sites to find out a bit more about the Sydney food scene, Feasting on Art, and my own personal art/food background.

Frida Kahlo, Fruits of the Earth, 1938-39,
oil on masonite, 40.6 x 60 cm, Coleccion Banco Nacional de Mexico

In the painting Fruits of the Earth, Kahlo’s subjects defy gravity. The foodstuffs sit upon a horizontal picture plane with no shadow, denoting a high perspectival point. There is a particular focus upon the corn, with two ears covered by green husks and one revealing the white kernels. Corn originated in Mesoamerican and was central to the culture. No less than three gods were worshiped during various periods of the yearly harvest cycle which signifies the importance of the produce within both the spiritual and culinary context (1).


{Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread}

1 TB butter
2 shallots, sliced
1 can corn, drained
1 3/4 c semolina
1/2 c +1 TB flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 c sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 egg
2 1/4 c milk
2 1/2 tsp lemon juice
3 TB pickled jalapeños, chopped

Saute the shallots in the butter until golden and they begin to carmelise. Add the drained corn and cook for a further 5 minutes, once done remove from the heat and let cool.

Preheat the oven to 190C and prepare baking dish with butter. Combine the semolina, flour, baking soda, and 3/4 c cheddar cheese in a large bowl. In a separate bowl combine the egg, milk, lemon juice, jalapeños, and corn/shallot mixture. Incorporate the wet ingredients into the dry but be careful not to overmix.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove and top with the remaining cheddar cheese and return to oven to finish cooking. After 35-40 minutes the cornbread should be golden on top and set through. Remove from oven, slice and serve warm. Can freeze for 1 month.

This is the fourth post in a five part series examining the still life paintings of Frida Kahlo.