Sunday, July 28, 2013

Mama's Appalachian Corn Bread Recipe

I'm not exactly sure why but women in Appalachia are expected to cook. I don't know if it's DNA or cultural expectations, not's just something we all in this family were expected to know how to do.

Though women's roles have changed along with the rest of the country, knowing how to cook these old recipes still survives. But I have a girlfriend, raised right here, who has never learn to really cook. Her husband said he knew she was no cook when they were dating because anytime he questioned her, "What about some dinner?" She grabbed her purse every time.

But most girls were trained at their mother's and grandmother's feet. Somehow knowing some of these recipes, cooking them for dinner in the modern world, is just something we do. Today we cooked the staple Brown Beans, Corn Bread, with diced onions, slice tomato, cucumbers and home made macaroni and cheese.

While making the corn bread I realized most of the women in our family, especially my mother, did not measure ingredients and they learned from their mother's and grandmothers the recipes by memory. But I could not ever remember how to make corn bread by memory. When I tried to find one like it online, in cookbooks, etc. I could not find one quite like our family recipe.

Couple of years ago, after my mother died, my brother gave me something worth more than gold. He was at Mom's house before she passed away, and made her measure out the ingredients for the family cornbread recipe. He let me make a copy of her notes. 

Now many would wonder why I would even think about sharing such a prize recipe with the world. I never understood the hoarding of recipes mindset.  We have family members that share recipes, but they will leave out an ingredient or two, so that if you try to duplicate their never tastes like theirs.  There is always a karmic aspect to this practice. I've seen over and over again family wanting to credit the right person for a recipe, it's usually the "bad" recipe that survives and then they are not thought of nor remembered as such a great cook.

Sharing this recipe means that it will survive.  May even be made better.

Lena's Corn Bread Recipe

3 cups Buttermilk
1 egg
1 tablespoon sugar
3 1/3 cups self-rising corn meal
pinch of baking soda
4 tablespoons bacon grease or vegetable oil

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Put the 4 tablespoons oil in iron skillet. Heat oil in skillet in oven until very hot.

Combine buttermilk, egg, sugar, corn meal, baking soda together. Pour in oil from skillet and mix. Pour into oil coated hot skillet. This creates the corn bread crust.

Bake 30 to 40 minutes (depends on oven) until golden brown. You can insert a toothpick in the center to test. If no batter is on the toothpick it's done.

There are many cornbread recipes and this is just one. One suggestion was to add another egg to the batter. I have also made it with regular milk and it worked just fine.  I would love to hear your comments, suggestions, etc.

Copyright 2007-2016 Denise A. Smith