Maize Mamma

I've been promising cornbread and haven't got around to making it or writing about it even. I've turned over the cornbread duties to my husband. First he was hooked on the little cornbread muffin mixes that come in the blue box. Yuck. I'd never had cornbread from a mix. It was nothing like my mamma's cornbread. There was no taste. But most importantly, there was no texture. It was almost like a flour muffin with some corn flavor.

Then our finances got better. My husband bought the bag of Marie Callender's cornbread mix. Better but still not mamma's cornbread. Again that corn texture was missing. The cornbread was too light and airy. It wasn't dense and crumbling with a texture like, well, corn meal. It didn't have that dark bottom from cooking in a cast iron skillet.

That all changed one night when my husband wanted cornbread. I dug in the too deep shelves in the pantry and found his bag of Marie Callender's mix. One whiff told the story, the fat in it had gone rancid. Now in a really bad situation, any of us would probably eat it just for the nutritional value. But things weren't that bad yet. So I chucked it out for the birds and grabbed my handy journal book of recipes. No, it isn't my Mamma's recipe for cornbread. There never was a recipe for her cornbread. She just made it. Measurements were "a little bit", "maybe a little more", etc. As a kid trying to learn to cook it frustrated me to tears. Now days if you tried to stop Mamma in the middle of cooking and work out the measurements, it would probably frustrate her into leaving the kitchen. It's just not the way she cooks.

What I found in my recipe journal that night was a recipe for cornbread cooked in a dutch oven. Close enough. The ingredient list looked close to the things I'd remembered Mamma using. It made a good starting point. It's gone through a little bit of mutation since that night.

Cast Iron Skillet Cornbread

1 cup yellow corn meal
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1 cup milk
2 tablespoon honey or 1/4 cup sugar

Grease your cast iron skillet (10-12") and start it heating in a 425°F oven while you mix the cornbread.

Mix the dry ingredients together. Then add the milk, eggs, and honey. Pour the batter into your heated cast iron skillet. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

I prefer honey in my cornbread. My husband perfers the no mess method of adding a bit of sugar. You can add more, less or none at all.

Next up, flour tortillas cooked in the fireplace.


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