It was August when I was about 8 years old. Mama was sewing on our back-to-school outfits. (3 girls x 5 days a week?)
It was time to start supper, but she did not want to quit just yet. “Peggy, go make cornbread.”
Back and forth I went from her sewing area to the kitchen getting one simple instruction at a time.
2 cups cornmeal,
1 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2-3 cups milk–enough to make it like thick gravy
I doubt she ever measured quite so precisely. She was guesstimating for it all, but the recipe has stuck in my head for, lo these many years.
I learned another trick from Aunt Betty when I stayed overnight with her one time. “Heat a black iron skillet on the burner with shortening while mixing the batter. Pour batter into skillet and hear the sizzle make yummy crust.” Then put in oven at 375 degrees. 30-40 min. (Remove from oven and turn upside down onto a plate immediately to let it breathe so the crust will stay crisp.)
And then the ultimate find at a garage sale in Tucson AZ with my sister: a well-aged, well-seasoned square iron skillet, $5. A little heavy in my carry-on, but worth the trouble.
Anyone notice there’s no sugar in my recipe? Nope.
I have a theory. I’ve been querying my northern friends since I married a Kansas Jayhawker.
Do you put sugar in your pinto beans? North and east of Oklahoma, they generally do not. But, they put sugar in their cornbread.
Where I come from, we put sugar in our pinto beans; therefore, no sugar in cornbread, please.
My daddy loved leftover cornbread crumbled in a tall glass of milk. Adding salt.
And without sugar in it, it is perfect for cornbread dressing to accompany the Thanksgiving turkey!
So, eat the crust with your tortilla soup (or milk) and freeze the rest for dressing.