1.22.2012

Momma's Cornbread

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Warning #1: The only natural things about this recipe are that its birthplace was in a Mississippi kitchen long ago and that it has been passed down from generation to generation.  Well, and it's made completely from scratch.

Warning #2: I have never actually made this without the assistance of my mom.  There are no guarantees that if you follow every single step of this recipe that you will get a perfect skillet of cornbread. This is NOT a foolproof recipe, and it took my mom YEARS to write it down for me as she doesn't use a recipe (and neither did anyone else in the family).  They do it all by look, feel, smell, and sound (yes, sound).  

Warning #3:  For the duration of this post I will be writing with a Southern flare, and you should read it with one.  That's just the way it's gotta be, y'all.  

Now that we've got all the warnings out of the way, let's talk cornbread.  I realize that there are millions of different kinds out there, but NOBODY makes cornbread like my momma!  I'm tellin' you, it's the absolute BEST EVER.  PERIOD.  It's the only kind I'll even eat.  I grew up eatin' this delicious stuff, and my kids and their kids will grow up eatin' it too.  It's crunchy and fluffy and hot and steamy and doggone-it, it's just GOOD! 

Here goes nothin'.

You'll need:
1 3/4 c. Self-Rising Corn Meal
1/4 c. Self-Rising Flour
1 1/2 tsp. Sugar
1 Egg
2 1/4 c. Buttermilk
1/3 c. Butter Flavored Crisco (yes, that's right)
11 inch IRON skillet (if you don't have one, go buy one)

You MAY substitute the white flour, sugar, and crisco for healthier options, but don't tell Momma I said so.  And I certainly don't suggest doin' that.  It will NOT taste like Momma's.  

Here's what you do, y'all:
1.  Preheat oven to 425 OR 450 degrees F. Now, I know that's confusin' and all, but I'm just tellin' ya what Momma said.  If you know your oven heats hot then keep it at the lower temperature, but if your oven is like my momma's you'll wanna turn it up to 450.

2.  Mix dry ingredients (that's the first 3) in a medium size bowl.  Momma uses a green plastic one.  We always knew we were gonna get to eat cornbread if we saw that green plastic bowl.  I'm just sayin'.

3.  Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients.  If you don't know what that means you may just wanna give up now.  Crack the egg into the well and mix with a fork to break up the egg.
Look at my momma's nails. She's always had purty nails.
4.  Add the buttermilk and stir stir stir.  Momma uses a fast clockwise motion.  You can hear the fork scraping the sides of the green plastic bowl.  

5.  In the meantime, melt the butter crisco in your 11 inch iron skillet on top of the stove until VERY hot.  Momma gets down at eye level and waits for it to start smokin' a little.  DON'T BURN IT.

This is obviously not hot enough yet.
6. Add hot crisco to the other mixture you have going and then stir stir stir using that fast clockwise motion.  Now, if it doesn't sizzle and crack and sound real good when you pour the crisco in then you didn't get the grease hot enough, and it won't taste as good.  Don't give up, but I'm just sayin', that's the most important part.
Hear that sizzle?                             Stir Stir Stir
7.  Add that mixture back into the hot iron skillet and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes.  Momma will shake it sometimes when it gets close to bein' done. I'm really not sure what she's doin'.  

8.  Turn on broiler and lightly brown the top.  Watch it close, now.  You don't want it to burn.

9.  Cut that corn bread straight down the middle, then in rows (see picture).  Do NOT cut it like a pie.  It ain't a pie, it's cornbread.
10.  Slap some more butter on that thing and enjoy, folks!

Questions?  Don't ask me!  Ask my Momma!  


Momma wants me to note that she ONLY uses Crisco for THIS recipe.  She is otherwise a very healthy individual!  

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