Well, I never! Some have accused me of making “Yankee Cornbread.” That might very well be the case. I am a Yankee, after all. And a proud one at that. But in the interest of fairness and the state of the union, I’ll share this recipe for “genuine cornbread” from a reader who grew up in Alabama:
When I was growing up, we made cornbread every evening for supper – it was just expected. We made it without measuring but I guess we dumped about 1 1/2 cups of self-rising cornmeal in a bowl, added an egg beaten very slightly, and then about 1 cup of buttermilk. The consistency was about the same as well-beaten cake batter, but we only stirred it until it was just barely mixed – too much stirring would ruin it.
Meanwhile, we would have a large cast-iron skillet on the stove with a couple of teaspoons of grease in it getting hot (when I was growing up, we used leftover bacon grease, but now I use something healthy). As soon as the grease began getting really hot, we would pour it into the cornbread mix and quickly mix it just a little. After this, we would pour the mixture into the hot skillet. This would make the bottom good and crunchy.
The skillet of cornmeal would then be placed in a 425 oven for about 20 minutes or so. When it looked and smelled almost ready, we would put it under the broiler for just a few minutes to get it brown on top. At this point, we would cut it in slices like cake and serve it good and warm with butter. The trick was to always get your cornbread to finish at the same time the rest of your meal was ready to serve.