Thursday, 20 November 2008

This One's for Jane!

You wanted 'my' cornbread recipe. It's actually from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook my Grandmother gave me for a wedding present back in 1977. It's pages are stained and spattered and I've used the recipe enough that I know it's on page 99 (but not frequently enough to not need the recipe).

Perfect Corn Bread
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar (I sometimes use a bit less)
4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup yellow cornmeal (AKA polenta)
2 eggs (or you substitute: TBS of water + heaping TBS of soy flour for 1 egg)
1 cup milk (we always used skimmed)
1/4 cup shortening (I always melt it in the microwave; I've used vegetable oil as well)

Heat oven to 425 F. Sift flour with sugar, baking powder and salt; stir in cornmeal. Add eggs, milk and shortening. Beat with rotary or electric beater (or just a spoon will do), until smooth. Do no overbeat. Pour into greased 9x9x2-inch pan. Bake at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

I think of cornbread as being part of my heritage -- it's a Southern thing. Mom cooked it often to eat with beans, though from a Jiffy box, not scratch. I had to learn the scratch variety after coming to the UK. I once asked Rita to send me various items like Jiffy cornbread mix, instant puddings, boxed macaroni & cheese, things I couldn't find here, sort of like a CARE package for Christmas. Imagine my surprise when the box was actually labelled by the US Post Office as a CARE package -- imagine the surprise of the British Customs staff! Only Rita could have pulled off something like that.

Cornbread is possibly the best eaten hot with butter. However, it is nice cold with butter. Southerners (and Bill) sometime eats it for breakfast, but Bill only adds butter; he doesn't pour milk over it. Cornbread is also good as part of Thanksgiving stuffing; substitute about half of the bread pieces with an equal amount of cornbread.

I've learned to like my scratch cornbread better than the packaged kind. Cornmeal is much coarser even than the 'coarse' variety of polenta (in addition to medium and fine) that I can get from the Asian food store (Brighton Grove in the west of Newcastle is my favourite). Consequently the cornbread I make here is more like cake.

Which is probably why Bill is willing to eat it for breakfast...


Anonymous said...

I learned to like cornbread, made with a little sugar, after I moved to Oklahoma. Rick doesn't like it, but the boys did so I made it for them.


Cindy said...

Thanks for posting this recipe! I've been making this cornbread for years and years. I need to make some tonight and I pulled out the "red and white checked cookbook" and p. 99 is missing! I probably took it out and taped it to the cabinet while I made it and forgot to put it back.