Saturday, April 21, 2012

Easy Corn Bread

My mother is from South Carolina. I grew up in New Hampshire. That means that not only do I occasionally have an intrusive R, I also have been known to remove Rs that are purely ornamental.

But while I am my mother's only Yankee child, and I loathe grits unaccompanied by butter, shrimp, green onions, garlic and cheese, I love Southern style cornbread. You will have noted the key phrase; Southern style cornbread. In New England, cornbread often approaches cake in taste and consistency, because sugar and white flour overwhelm the corn meal.

My mom's standard corn bread recipe is derived from the one on the Quaker Yellow Corn meal box. I say derived because my mom, bless her heart, alters recipes for the better. Here then is the Official Back-Of-The-Box Recipe:

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 yellow corn meal
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg, beaten

Procedure

  1. Heat oven to 400 F.
  2. Grease an 8 or 9 inch pan.
  3. Combine dry ingredients.
  4. Stir in mil, oil, and egg, mixing just until dry ingredients are moistened.
  5. Port batter into prepared pan.
  6. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until light golden brown and wooen pick inserted in center comes out clean.
  7. Serve warm.
My mom uses two eggs, thank-you-very-much, and would be scandalized at the idea of cooking corn bread in a pan; all right-thinking people use cast iron to cook corn bread. Buttermilk makes good cornbread, so does sour milk. When I was a kid, my mom would also add a little powdered milk. You want corn meal muffins? Just pour the batter in an oiled cast iron muffin pan. Mom used to give us corn bread from the day before in milk as an after school snack. It's less filling than Mac's mom's Mexican Cornbread, but makes a fast side dish with chili, or chowder.

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