Themes - Gracious and Good, Just Good Food
Food/Tech Tie In – Basic Baking
Can you smell it...kinda of cake-y with that hint of sweetness filling the house following the undeniable aroma of corn? Growing up, there wasn’t a celebration meal that was complete without cornbread. Biscuits, rolls and the like were there too, but that savor, that umber that I now know to be a crowning achievement, GBD (Golden Brown Delicious if you don’t know) on a large round or muffins, brought many a meal together on so many levels.
Butter on the top giving a slight glisten to an already beautiful hue, and in the middle to “do what buttah do”...on its own, or there to sop (y’all know), separate plate or piled on top of the main and sides, eaten on the spot or put on a paper plate, covered with aluminum foil and put on top of the refrigerator for later (again, y’all know), cornbread has always been there, and is an integral part of my food memories.
I don’t know that I remember anyone making it from scratch on the regular, but I do remember the presence of a robins egg blue and white box, with the same name as a popcorn brand, being present on the regular. A sweet dry ingredient base to which milk and an egg were added, that almost every house had, or at least those in my family and neighborhood. Part of our families shopping list (fuhgeddaboudit if it was on sale, stock up time!!), at a time when a pre-packaged anything that made the cooking easier, faster, was considered modern and on occasion reallllllly cool. Think TV dinners, powdered orange drink that astronauts took to outer space, frozen lasagna and the like. It was like regular homemade cornbread was so...old fashion, so...dry, so...not sweet, so...your grandmother (for the record...My Nana use the blue and white box...often).
Truth be told, the blue and white box tasted GOOD, and became my go to as I was first setting up house, meaning it defined what I thought cornbread should taste like...SWEET. I have been told on more than 20 occasions...sweet cornbread is Northern cornbread, albeit I’ve seen it on grocery shelves across the country and here in the South. No shade, just sayin’. Learning to add a little corn, chopped red and yellow peppers or cheese, were just some of my doc’ing up go to’s I played around with back in the day, thinking I was really doing something 🤣...and I was👩🏽🍳
Shape shifting into the all-natural way of eating and dare I share, short lived but impactful vegetarian part of my life, “from scratch” was a mantra followed, hence I went a little lower on the grocery store shelf and made friends with yellow cornmeal, flour, leavening agents and sugar. OMG...the difference between a boxed mix which was smooth on the tongue (modifiers, preservatives) and the slightly grainier, more structured yet still soft “from scratch” cornbread, was game changing. Less sweet, less air-y, but so full, so round in flavor.... I landed in made from scratch cornbread heaven and have never looked back.
All of my celebration meals...are served with cornbread. I don’t care who is at the table, who requested it be made...I make sure I get my slice even if it’s a sliver. It may be amongst other breads and crackers served, but its always the first to go cause cornbread from scratch...
is whats up !
Dry ingredients, wet ingredients, Jersey corn cut from the cob sauted ever so slightly to open up that corn taste, an extra ingredient or two to bring a bit of that blue and white box creaminess to it, while still holding on to the structure...and before you ask, yes its sweet! Less sweet than the boxed variety, but between, the fresh corn, and the sugar itself, I mean...LAWD!!! Give me some braised Oxtails, Mac & Cheese, Greens and its celebration meal time HereInMyKicthen. How about in yours ?