I am a bad baker. I don’t even like to bake – it’s Mackie’s domain and I’m fine with that. (Plus she’s really good at it, so why would I interfere?)
Except for cornbread. For some reason it strikes me as the manliest of all the breads. Maybe it’s the cast iron skillet, or maybe because the best cornbread recipes always start with something along the lines of “Fry bacon, reserving the drippings…” Maybe it’s knowing my grandpa and grandma like to eat cornbread crumbled up in a glass of cold buttermilk. Whatever the reason, I love cornbread.
It’s impossible to feel pretentious eating cornbread. Even if you doctor it up all fancy like the above photo with maple syrup, butter and blueberries (which is dangerously close to putting on airs) it’s still such a simple, rustic bread that you can get away with it.
I prefer yellow corn meal, although I respect a white-meal man too. Whatever the color though, it can’t be sweet.
2 cups cornmeal (I like The Old Mill at Guilford because it’s 5 minutes from where I grew up, but if you can’t find it go with House-Autry, another NC brand that’s been stone grinding corn for over 100 years)
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tbs baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 cups buttermilk
3 tbs butter (or bacon drippings!)
Preheat oven to 425. Place butter or drippings in 12″ cast iron skillet and put in oven as it’s heating.
Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl, being sure to get them well distributed.
Combine wet ingredients in another bowl, and then mix with dry ingredients.
When oven is preheated, remove skillet from oven and pour melted butter or drippings into the batter and mix.
Pour batter into skillet and bake for 25 minutes.
In general, cornbread is best eaten with other awesome food like greens, pintos or with a glass of buttermilk. But maple syrup and blueberries was hard to beat at 9:30 at night.