Women Gather at the Modern River Bank and No Fail Cornbread

Lila wrote an observational poem in 1986, alluding to a Sigmund Freud quote.

“The great question that has never been answered, and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is ‘What does a woman want?'” Sigmund Freud.

Women Gather at the Modern Riverbank

Women gather at the modern riverbank,

The copy machine, to gossip and work,

Where the liquid’s not water

It’s a black toner murk.


They feed the machine, they don’t beat the rocks.

It wrings out clean sheets, but never clean socks.

They gather and clutch sheets close to their breasts

And carry them back to their cluttered home-desks.

To fold, or to file away into drawers,

Or to slide into envelopes-mailed by the scores.


Endlessly, mindlessly, mailing, undaunted.

Can black words on sheets

Be “what women wanted”?


Love, Lila – Written February 17-22, 1986

No Fail Cornbread

No Fail Cornbread Recipe
This cornbread can be baked in muffin tins or in an 8X8 inch baking pan. Your choice!

Today’s recipe is Never Fail Cornbread. I like a recipe that I am guaranteed not to fail! This is a very old recipe. It uses a rotary egg-beater. A manual tool your grandmother used before electricity. I remember using this tool to whip up my sister’s hair. She then got a Pixie Cut and I got a spanking, a timeout and was grounded for quite some time. If you don’t have a rotary egg-beater, you can use an electric mixer. Set it on a low setting and think about how hard life was back in the day.

A photo of an old egg-beater.
Some people call this an Egg-Beater. I call it a Pixie Cut maker!

This recipe calls for soft shortening. Back when this recipe was invented, that shortening was lard. If you talk to anyone who made a lot of cornbread back in the day, they will tell you there is nothing better. Lard tends to make today’s cooks a little squeamish. You could use bacon grease. If that makes you ponder, use butter or Crisco.

Never Fail Cornbread

Tools You’ll Need:

  • Mixing bowl
  • Rotary eggbeater or electric mixer
  • Muffin tin


  • 1 C corn meal
  • 1 C flour
  • ¼ C sugar
  • ½ t salt
  • 4 t baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 C milk
  • ¼ C soft shortening (most likely lard)

Sift dry ingredients into a medium sized bowl. If you want your corn bread crunchy, don’t sift. Add egg, milk and shortening. Then beat with a rotary egg-beater until smooth, about 1 minute. Do not over beat. Bake in greased muffin pans in a 425 degree oven for 20-15 minutes.

Illustrated Photo of Never Fail Cornbread

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