Cast Iron Cornbread Wars

When it comes to cornbread, there are two camps.  Those who put sugar in their recipe and those who do not.  I belong to the latter.  To many Southerners, sugar has no place in cornbread and the addition of it is sacrilege.  Or as my friend’s mama from Tennessee told me when I asked her view on the matter, “Sugar?  In cornbread? Dahlin’, that’s what Yankees do! While it has its place, frankly, it’s cake.” Personally, I think cornbread without sugar is more versatile.  You can eat it with anything–sweet or savory.  You can have it with honey.  You can also use it to make sausage stuffing, something I would never do with sweetened cornbread.  Also, just to note, two of my favorite Southern chefs, Mr. Scott Peacock and Ms. Virginia Willis, do not put sugar in their recipes.  Knowing this, nor do I nor will I ever. The bottom line is sugar or no sugar, cornbread is a damn fine thing and the recipe by which most people swear is their grandmother’s.  Whatever she did, so will they.  And while I’m not gonna say your meemaw’s wrong, I am gonna say I think mine’s right. NB: This will be filed under savory. Ingredients: 2 cups cornmeal 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon baking soda 2 eggs 2 cups buttermilk 2 tablespoons rendered bacon fat   Method: Preheat oven to 450ºF/230ºC/Gas 8. Put the bacon fat in your cast iron skillet then place it in the oven.  **If you don’t have bacon dripping, you can use butter.  Just be sure not to overheat it.  Brown butter cornbread is delicious.  Burnt butter not so much. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, salt, and baking soda. 2015-03-23 18.08.30 In a separate bowl, stir together the egg and buttermilk.  Gently fold this mixture into the dry one. Remove the skillet and pour the dripping into your batter.  Stir it in well. Pour the batter into the skillet and bake for about 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.  Eat with barbecue, chili, roasted fish, fried chicken or just about anything else you please.  Serve warm with butter and honey for a smackerel of something sweet.  When it starts to go stale (should you have any leftover), use it to make a sausage stuffing. 2015-03-23 18.27.10   2015-03-23 19.01.01 2015-03-23 19.03.54

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8 thoughts on “Cast Iron Cornbread Wars

  1. Steve is decidedly in your camp. I’m more ecumenical. Frankly, just about any cornbread (except Jiffy Mix … yuck, talk about sweet!) is ok with me. I did laugh at your post, though, because it reminded me of a (true) story that gets told often around here about somebody saying: “Don’t give me none of that Yankee cone bwed!”

  2. Love the brand “Island Sun”–like it’s exotic and tropical. I guess that’s better than a black caricature. But kind of funny nonetheless. Will definitely try because Wende is a cornbread freak and always trying new recipes hoping they will be The One… And please please share your recipe for sausage stuffing (or dressing as we Southerners call it). That sounds wonderful. BTW, our food share this week might have some local blue corn meal from a nearby reservation. Jealous?????

    • To be honest, I don’t have a recipe for dressing. When I make it, I just choose several recipes and take the best elements from each. Keeps things a little different to suit my ever changing mood. And yes, I’m so jealous you have blue cornmeal. Wonder if I could get it at a Mexican grocer here in London. . . will have to see.

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