Brandon and Bryce Wilner, Cornbread with Yogurt

In 1935, the Argentine authors Jorge Luis Borges and Adolfo Bioy Casares were hired by Bioy Casares’s uncle, the owner of Argentina’s largest dairy company, La Martona, to write a “semi-scientific, semi-commercial pamphlet about yogurt.” The authors had met four years prior through the author and publisher Victoria Ocampo and her influential magazine Sur, and neither Borges nor Bioy Casares had yet written the fiction for which he would best be remembered. Throughout this pamphlet, the authors refer to fermented milk as a mythological potion: humans inhale entire societies, God gives food directly to his subjects, and real people live to superhuman ages. The text ends with four baking recipes that incorporate yogurt as an ingredient.

In 2013, we translated the text into English and published La Leche Cuajada de La Martona (La Martona’s Yogurt)1 alongside its original Spanish. We present below Borges’s and Bioy Casares’s recipe for “Pan de Maíz con Leche Cuajada” (“Cornbread with Yogurt”).

Pan de Maíz con Leche Cuajada

Pásense por el tamiz los ingredientes secos. Agréguese leche cuajada y huevos batidos, cocínese durante cincuenta minutos en un horno de calor moderado.

Cornbread with Yogurt

This is a very simple recipe that yields a nice, moist cornbread. I recommend baking it in a large, shallow tin. A ten-and-a-quarter-inch cast-iron skillet worked well for me. –B.W.

Preheat oven to four-hundred degrees fahrenheit. Sift and combine the dry ingredients. Mix in the eggs, yogurt, and butter. Bake in a well-buttered baking pan for fifty minutes.

  1. Jorges Luis Borges and Adolfo Bioy Casares, La Leche Cuajada de La Martona (La Martona’s Yogurt) [1936] (Chicago: Brandon and Bryce Wilner, 2013).