When I was growing up, I could take or leave cornbread. My mom used the same recipe that her mother Grandma Marian used. Maybe the recipe was even Grandma Gladys's or from further back in our family than that. I don't know. While it was just fine, it wasn't my favorite recipe for cornbread.
I remember enjoying the cornbread that was served in school lunch, though, and I mentioned that to Phyllis, a family friend and now one of the ladies who comes in to help with the Monday Market baking here in the summer. Years ago, Phyllis invited me over for supper on a night when she was serving her family cornbread, and her recipe was just what I was looking for!
Phyllis has graduated to a cornbread recipe that she says is even better than this one, but I'm sticking with this version--which I've changed a little from the original version. Here is what I do:
In a medium-sized bowl, place 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 cup cornmeal, 1/3 cup sugar, 4 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/2 tsp. salt.
I find that pulling a pan of cornbread out of the oven of a woodburning cookstove feels somehow--what is the word? "nostalgic" maybe?--since we know that this was a staple on the supper tables of history. I notice that our local Fareway sells cornbread alongside the other bakery goods, but I haven't dared try it. For one thing, I know that homemade cornbread does not keep well at all, so I figure there must be all manner of preservatives in what they sell at the grocery store. Besides, this is not a difficult recipe, and I don't think anything could come close to the flavor of it fresh out of the oven.
When I was growing up, cornbread was served with white corn syrup or molasses. This is not my preferred method of serving it, however. Stay tuned for the next post to see how I like to eat mine!