Southern Cornbread

After my sad post about giving up on corn, I needed something to boost my spirits, a little pick me up, if you will.  And there’s no better way sometimes, than with a spot of comfort food.  Southern Cornbread, anyone?

This is a recipe I devised through trial and error, not to mention the help of my daughter’s taste buds.  I’ll warn you, she’s a sweet one.  Sweet on the outside, sweet on the inside, plain everything in her world is sweet—including her preference in food.  Which leads me to a disclaimer:  this is NOT my mother’s recipe.  (We don’t want to tarnish her reputation in any way, particularly “guilt by association.”)

To be completely forthright, we took her basic recipe and modified from there.  Frankly, I prefer her recipe, only not oven-baked as she directed, but pan-fried, with lots of yummy butter to make it a beautiful golden brown.  My apologies to my healthy friends—this recipe is anything but.

But it’s oh-so-delicious.  And simple–the best part of all!

Southern Cornbread

Southern Cornbread

2 cups yellow cornmeal

2 cups buttermilk

3 TBSP melted bacon drippings, extra to grease pan

1 egg

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup vanilla pudding mix (optional – to add moisture)

2 TBSP sugar (optional – for the sweet tooth!)

Preheat oven to  400°F.  Grease bottom & sides of 10” cast iron skillet with bacon fat. For crisper crust, pre-heat skillet before adding batter. Mix all ingredients together and pour into greased pan.  Bake for 30 minutes.

Serve warm.  8 servings.

Mind you there are tons of variations for this recipe, like adding bacon bits into the batter, fresh corn kernels, jalapeno peppers – but whatever you do, don’t tell my mother I added sugar and pudding mix – she’ll have my hide!

However, there’s one modification she will approve and that’s Grandma Lulu’s way…  Combine the buttermilk, cornmeal (self-rising), salt and pepper and whisk until smooth.  Heat a small cast iron skillet to medium on stove top.  Melt a slice of butter in pan, then pour a 1/4 cup of batter into the pan, spreading it out pancake style. 

pour cornmeal mix like a pancake

Cook several minutes or until bottom is golden brown, then flip (I add another swatch of butter before the corn cake hits the pan for the second time!).  Cook until underside is golden brown (won’t take long), then remove from pan and eat immediately!

pan-frying cornbread

All I can say is yum.  Made cornbread this way the other night and the family said it tasted like pancakes.  “Pass the syrup!”

Crazy as a dizzy goat, I tell you.  My corn cakes tasted nothing like breakfast pancakes.  In fact, Grandma Lulu’s method is my favorite way to make cornbread. :)  You decide.

So there you have it.  Two methods, two schools of thought.  But to me, cornbread any way you cook it is a compliment to a traditional southern meal, or simply divine served on its own.