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Fixin' Supper

Talkin' 'bout what to fix for supper. Tonight, tomorrow night....

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Cornbread woes

Of course you know -- whether you're from here or not -- that in the South, everyone is very particular about their cornbread. I have always liked my mother's recipe. It's cooked in a skillet, it has no sugar, it's relatively flat. It is nice and crunchy on the bottom but soft inside. And it holds its shape perfectly. I really hate cornbread so crumbly you are just cleaning up for an hour afterward.

Years ago, as soon as I got my own cast-iron skillet, a fine one, I might add, I discovered the problem: my mother's recipe only worked in HER skillet. There was nothing magic to it -- mine was too big. I had no idea what size pan I should be looking for, but clearly, one smaller than mine. [I realize at this point in the story, you're thinking, ask your mom how big her skillet is. Or measure it next time you're home. Of course, I rejected both those options.]

Instead, I embarked on a several-year journey that I'm still in the midst of. But I've finally found a bit of a map on my expedition.

I got into my head this past weekend to make cornbread, but unlike all the completely bad recipes I've turned out in the past, I was DETERMINED to make it right. So I started looking in my cookbooks. After a couple of surprises [you'd be amazed at the cookbooks with no recipe for cornbread], I found what I wanted in Miss Daisy Celebrates Tennessee, the cookbook by Daisy King published for our bicentennial.

This recipe was a little different from my mother's -- but the most important part is that it specified an 8-inch skillet. With that frame of reference, I discovered that my skillet, at 10 inches, was about 50% bigger. [Rough math, but the recipe was the proof!] I increased the recipe accordingly and got great cornbread.

Now, it wasn't the SAME as my mom's. While good, it was fluffier than I like, though I suspect most people would prefer this. So I still have to go back and work on the other recipe for my own sake. I have a feeling that in the end, I'll buy an 8-inch skillet.


At 11:53 PM, Anonymous Allison said...

So do I still count as a Southerner if I don't own a cast-iron skillet?

At 11:50 PM, Blogger Laura Creekmore said...



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