Too Many Cooks

Jack Vines shares his recipe for real Southern buttermilk cornbread

Sugar in cornbread?

“Oh, the humanity!” writes Jack Vines of Spokane, a longtime Spokesman-Review reader and self-described “Southern-born man who learned to make and eat cornbread at his great-grandmother’s wood-fired stove.”

He’s dubious of a recipe for the “proud Southern staple” which comes from “someone who styles herself as ‘Barefoot Contessa’” – and he’s willing to share his own.

 “Cornbread does not contain sugar.  Yankee cake-like recipes contain sugar and flour,” Vines says.

And that’s not all.

“A ‘cornbread’ recipe with three cups of flour and one cup of cornmeal is just wrong.  That would be a slightly grainy cake! Cornbread,” Vines writes, “is made with cornmeal, end of story.”

His version uses vintage cast-iron cookware and, of course, there’s no sugar added.

 “For some of us, cornbread is a sacrament,” Vines writes. “Debase a religion at one’s peril.”

 Real Southern Buttermilk Cornbread

 1 cup yellow cornmeal

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons warm, melted bacon grease

1 cup buttermilk

1 egg lightly beaten

 Heat oven to 425 degrees. Place two Griswold iron corn stick pans into oven to heat. Stir dry ingredients into a cast-iron bowl. (Vines favors the Griswold Scotch variety.) Add buttermilk and egg to bowl and mix. Add bacon grease and mix. Ladle into heated corn stick pans and convection bake until golden on top and brown on bottom, 12 to 15 minutes.

 Note: Any sticks of cornbread not eaten with dinner become dessert, topped with butter and Spring Valley Farms sorghum syrup.




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