April 2, 2009

a slab of buttered cornbread a day...

...makes one healthy, wealthy, and wise.


Or am I getting my adages mixed up?

I may have mentioned before that my grandpa has eaten a piece of cornbread with his lunch every single day for as long as I've known him. Sometimes he even has some for supper too. Needless to say, it's something my grandma can make with her eyes closed and one hand tied behind her back whilst adamantly quizzing me about any men in my life.

This isn't your fluffy, cake-like, sweet, Yankee-fied (no offense intended) version. Rather, it's classically Southern, with a crispy, crunchy, crusty exterior and crumbly, coarse, super butter-absorbent interior, perfect for sopping up whatever meat or bean or vegetable juices might be pooling up on one's plate.


There are two requirements for Grandma's recipe: a cast-iron skillet and shortening. It's just not the same without those components.

As I mentioned above, sometimes my grandpa has a second piece of cornbread for supper. He doesn't slather this one with butter, though, oh no. This one he crumbles into a glass of cold milk. Have you tried this? Grandma calls it "cornbread milk"--pretty aptly-named, am I right? I must say, it's pretty amazing. Be sure to let the bread get soggy and flavor up the milk--you won't regret it.


I'm contributing this recipe to Laura from The Spiced Life for her wonderful event Grandma's Recipes, which spotlights recipes passed down to us from our grandmothers. Isn't that a great idea?


Any recipe we've been lucky enough to learn from these women is undoubtedly a keeper.

Frannie's Fine and Fabulous Cornbread
(I made a half-batch, which is why mine's so thin)
1/3 cup shortening
2 cups self-rising cornmeal
1 egg, slightly beaten
scant 2 cups milk

Spray an 8-inch cast-iron skillet with nonstick spray, toss in shortening, and place into an oven preheated to 450F.
In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, egg, and milk; mix until combined. Remove melted shortening from oven and pour into mixture; stir until blended. Pour batter into the skillet and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Turn out onto a plate, slice, serve, butter, and consume.

74 comments:

Bellini Valli said...

This is a great idea for an event Grace. I love your version of cornbread and would even try it in my milk to become more Southern. I am actually making a Southern meal today...I hope I do it justice.

Albany Jane said...

I think this will be my new motto.

And I also think cornbread should be made in cast iron. That crust just can't be beat.

Amy said...

You crack me up Grace! I love when U share tidbits about your life!! Looks yummy, I'll have to try this, because my cornbread is very Yankafied!:)

lisaiscooking said...

There's nothing like good, southern cornbread. Love it!

kat said...

I've never made skillet cornbread, I'm afraid I'm too much of a Yankee ;)

Culinary Wannabe said...

You and I are totally on the same page! I just posted a cornbread recipe similar to this one!

Pam said...

I love cornbread but have never had it in milk - I will try it next time I make it because I trust you.

Maria said...

I enjoy cornbread with soup, never tried it in milk. Interesting, I will have to give it a try!

unconfidentialcook said...

I've been meaning to make cornbread, and your version looks great. I've got the skillet and shortening isn't too far away. The cornbread-and-milk sounds like a great change-o-breakfast from my daughter's cheerios. Thanks.

Lara said...

You know what I don't have? A cast iron skillet. I have always wanted one, but I have this fantasy of finding an old, well seasoned one in an antique shop. Or a yard sale. Or on my front porch.

Still waiting.

Bridgett said...

I never liked cornbread until recently and now I love it! I have yet to make it in a skillet so I need to get moving on that. I hear it is the best way.

Deborah said...

Now that's a lot of cornbread! I've never tried it in milk -but I'm sure my husband would LOVE it that way!

Paula said...

Oh, I love family traditions such as this! I like all types of cornbread, sweet, savory, buttered, plain ... their all yummy to me. I've not tried it in milk ... but you know I'm going to now! :-)

Karen Brown Letarte said...

Grace, thanks for sharing such a wonderful, slice-of-family-history recipe! This is the kind of cornbread my mom made when I was growing up, which, perversely, I hated. I have to admit, my "yankee-fied" recipe is my fav, but I've come to love this simple, earthy, no-frills cornbread too. BTW, my mom had nothing but scorn for "yankee cornbread" until she tried mine. Now it's her fav too! :D

Abby said...

Of course being Southern I know all about this dish, but I haven't seen anyone eat it in so long. I think it's one of those things passing out of touch as generations pass on...

And yankee cornbread is more like DESSERT. :)

Frantic Home Cook said...

I haven't thought of this in ages. My Kentucky born dad ate it like soaked in a tall glass of buttermilk.

Jeff said...

Never tried dunking it in milk but I have fond memories of grandma cornbread which was that awesome crunchy one made with bacon grease. Drroooolllll....looks awesome!!

Dawn said...

this is exactly how my hubby eats his, in milk. he does this with brownies too.
I agree that cornbread should only be made in a cast iron skillet. I love heat and cheese in mine with a hint of sugar. Mmmm

Jenna (KaTom) said...

Besides just missing them because I loved them...I miss having cornbread with my grandparents. My grandmom always buttered each piece when it was piping hot and it was amazing.

And every night my granddad would take the leftover pieces and have cornbread and milk. I still love it...the crumbs that settle at the bottom are the best.

Ah, sweet memories.

Amanda @ Fake Ginger said...

Your grandpa is my kinda guy. I could seriously eat cornbread at every meal, everyday for the rest of my life.

I'm told that my great grandfather used to put cornbread in buttermilk for breakfast! Milk I think I could do but buttermilk?! Gross.

Helene said...

I've never eaten cornbread and I'm reading that your grandma was eating it everyday. That must be good.

Ingrid said...

That is a wonderful event! What's even more wonderful is that genius idea of your grandpa's! I'm not into soggy food but something about that just appeals to me. You know I never even had cornbread until I moved to FL. Yes, I know, it isn't really the south but to a NYC girl, it sure is!
~ingrid

Robin Sue said...

GRACE! I was just telling my kids two nights ago that this was how my Dad, their Papa ate his corn bread- in milk. The story came up because I had given cold leftover rice in a glass of milk with sugar on top to my little girl and said that Papa ate his rice this way for dessert and they asked about other things Papa did and I explained the corn bread milk. Those Southerners know how to use up leftovers in a good way! Another thing Dad does is heat a bowl of milk and sprinkle it with sugar and cinnamon and let us dip toast soldiers. We called it dippy toast.

The Blonde Duck said...

I think we should all have some of this cornbread at least twice a day. At least.

And if I didn't have to be continued stories, what fun would you have? :)

Corriendo said...

Oh, how I LOVE cornbread!

If you ever go to Bandera (there are various US locations), you have to try their cornbread. That is the best cornbread I've ever had!

I just did a search for Bandera's cornbread and found this recipe: http://www.massrecipes.com/recipes/04/09/banderarestaurantincredib564.html

I want to try that!

Also, cornbread in milk sounds delicious!

Marjie said...

A slab of buttered cornbread a day makes one healthy, happy and wise.

I'm pretty sure that's how it goes.

And I, a certified Yankee, don't make Yankeefied cornbread either. That's just stupid. If you want fluffy and sweet, eat a damn cake and quit pretending!

Lori said...

I just received the book The Cornbread Gospels. So much info about cornbread. I loved hearing this story Grace and how funny Robin Sue has had a similar history!
For me, corn in any form, is just delicious!

dessertobsessed said...

ooh la la, cornbread in milk? i've never heard of that before! must try it! i absolutely adore corn bread from marie callender's, but the one next to my house just went out of business! guess i need to start making my own cornbread!

Sophie said...

OMG I want to get involved in that round-up!

Cornbread rocks, grandma's is a winner! I am so happy that out of all the breads, gluten free cornbread still tastes as good as the 'regular' kind :D.

foodhoe said...

Wonderful post! I never knew either of my grandfathers... anyways I love how yours really looks like bread. I'll take mine in a nice cold glass of soymilk :)

Shelly said...

I'm used to the fluffy cornbread, but I'm practically drooling after reading your description for your version, Grace! I could totally dig on the crispy, crunchy texture. Methinks the cast iron skillet will be christened with this soon! Love to hear about how your family enjoys this, too :).

Elle said...

i love how how he has it in his milk! And hey, there's room enough in the world for southern and yankee cornbread, right? hehehe

Bunny said...

I'm intrigued about the milk and cornbread, I love cornbread and milk separately so why not together. I'm gonna try this Grace you have me curious now!

Heather said...

i think i love your grandpa. Can i adopt him? (he has to bring the cornbread!)

Lynda said...

Great looking corn bread! I'd eat it every day if it would make me healthy, wealthy and wise!
My father liked his with milk too.

Hornsfan said...

Very interesting Grace, definitely something I've never tried...now southern-style cornbread, that's another story :)

Sara said...

Love love LOVE cornbread. I thought I had tried almost every variety until now - definitely need to make this.

Foodie with Little Thyme! said...

Cornbread everywhere I read. I think I should take it as a sign and go make some?

MaryBeth said...

We simply love the cornbread...

Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella said...

Fantastic! I always feel privileged getting a peek into special family recipes. So this is genuine, true, no Yankeefied cornbread huh? Sounds great!

Sandie said...

Grandma's cast-iron skillet cornbread recipe...I think I've died and gone to heaven! Can't wait to give this a try, Grace!

KJ said...

Love cornbread. Cornbread milk, err maybe not so much. Each to their own.

Maryann said...

The cornbread must be great! Grandpa's cornbread milk? Uh..no.

noble pig said...

I know I would eat this...OMG the milk thing is brilliant!

Susan said...

My grandma was always big on cornbread and buttermilk. I remember visiting her many times and that would be a snack at her house!

Amanda said...

In regular milk, or buttermilk, Grace?

I love real southern cornbread; my mother-in-law taught me how to make it. Sugar is so completely unnecessary! (Why do Yankees do that?)

I find it's very difficult to find self-rising cornbread here in NY--where do you find it?

Apples and Butter said...

I make my mother's cornbread all the time and I refuse to use anything other than cast-iron. She's from Mississippi as her mother as her mother and so on, so I think the recipe qualifies as un-jankified!

Laura said...

Fabulous! What a great submission. It's enough to make me realize the error of my Yankee ways. ;)

Sophie said...

MMMMMMM...that soutern cornbread looks so lovely! yum!!

haleysuzanne said...

Yep. That looks awesome. My family tended to fry cornbread in leftover bacon grease, but that's not something I often have on hand. Can't wait to try your recipe! And what a great post about your family - love those!

Louise at Livin Local said...

The cornbread looks lovely, and I bet the edges have a nice crunch after baking in a cast iron skillet. As for the cornbread and milk, I'll just nod my head and know that as a Westerner I may never understand quite a few things Southern.

Elyse said...

What a great recipe to contribute to Laura's round-up! Being a good Southern gal, I love my corn bread coarse, crumbly, butter-absorbant, AND NOT SWEET!! So glad that we're together in this one. I have not ever tried cornbread milk, though, and I must tell you that I'm totally dying to try it now. How delicious does that sound?! I can't wait to try out this tried-and-true recipe!!

Jessica@Foodmayhem said...

Wow, one of the simplest looking recipes ever, and I bet it's great!

toontz said...

I love all kinds of cornbread...but not sure about the milk idea. I am not a dunker, either. I don't like my cookies or bread soggy, thank you very much. Great recipe!

alexandra said...

Yes! What a great idea this event is. And your grandfather sounds like the most adorable man on the planet. My husband's grandpa has a poached egg every day for breakfast and a half a turkey sandwich for lunch. He's 94. I think these men are on to something.

Sandy said...

i'm just not a big cornbread girl, BUT ... i'd eat anything you make!

Half Baked said...

I love cornbread! Can't wait to give your recipe a try. What a great event!!

Selba said...

I usually eat cornbread just plain...

Anita said...

I only recently tried cornbread - although not in milk... I love that it's passed down from your Grandma too

Lisa said...

That just sounds so good and makes me think of home. I think I'll get out my skillet and shortening this week. Grandmas are the greatest!

RecipeGirl said...

That's genius- the whole 'cornbread in the milk' thing! Love grandmas & their secrets :)

Wendy said...

Oh, boy ... I seem to have drooled on my keyboard again! I was taught how to make "real" cornbread by my ex-husband's Granny - on a wood-burning stove, no less! You brought some very wonderful memories to mind today ... thanks!

Cottonpickinfarm said...

Grace! I am born and raised in Washington State, by an Iowa mom and an Arkansas dad. I grew up eating Blackeyed Peas and Hamhocks with "Southern" Cornbread. Course I didn't know it was southern. It was the only way I'd ever eaten it. I thought it was the only way it could be made, until Expo 74 came to Spokane. I can honestly say as a born and bred Northerner, that I prefer the Southern cornbread to sweet cornbread. No Marie Calendars for me. I'll wait for pie!

If there were leftovers (and mamma always made sure she made plenty) we ate it for breakfast in a bowl with milk. No sugar.

Well, having read and commented about it, that's on my "to do" list today. Make a big pan of cornbread! (Hmmm, I wonder if I have a hamhock in the freezer?)

Katie said...

Cornbread and milk strange but I think I will have to give it a shot!

Maris said...

Hmm, nope! That sounds like the right adage to me :)

tiffany @ the garden apartment said...

I spent a good hour yesterday reading about the difference between Northern and Southern cornbreads. Your recipe sounds wonderful and a perfect Southern cornbread.

Jeanne said...

I had no idea there was a north/south divide in the cornbread arena! Either way, yours sounds fantastic. I love your grandpa's recipe for a long & happy life!

Kim said...

My grandparents were from Texas and we had cornbread with dinner quite often. I remember my grandparents fixing a tall glass of buttermilk and crumbling leftover cornbread in it and then eating it with an iced tea spoon. They called it dessert!

Julie said...

The cornbread looks great. People look at me like I'm crazy when I tell them I used to eat cornbread in milk for a treat when I was growing up....it's yummy!

SweetT said...

My father, who had been gone now for about 16 years used to put cornbread in his milk. Thanks so much for the memory.

Anonymous said...

I have grown up doing this, but never met anyone else who did! i always love someone's reaction when they see me do this.

Lexie said...

Yum! I have never seen anyone put their cornbread in milk, but it makes me want to try it!

A. said...

Ok. Few thoughts here. Yes, cornbread and milk are great together. It's true that you have to use a super hot cast iron skillet. BUT.... may I suggest for a true southern flair that you use bacon greese (from your greese cup of course) instead of shortening. Oh, and a pinch of salt. This truly is divine. Try it and tell me what you think.

sweetjeanette said...

Oh my goodness gracious! You know how to take me back! My dad always liked to save a slice or two for a late-night snack, break it up in buttermilk. I never could quite take the buttermilk thing, but I will admit to having it in my "sweet milk" a time or two! I like buttermilk, but in my biscuits! LOL