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Cornbread Quest

November 3, 2010
Homemade cornbread in a cast iron skillet

Image via Wikipedia

I’m from the south. I love southern food. One of those foods I love and consider a staple to my diet is cornbread. Rarely have I eaten cornbread at a restaurant I was happy with. If it has sugar in it, I don’t consider it cornbread. The recipe I used for years, the one my mother gave me, called for a whole stick of real butter. Few things on this planet tasted as good as that cornbread. I also like it fried, like pancakes. I like a simpler version using cornmeal mix, water or milk and frying it like pancakes as well.

My fat-free attempts at cornbread have been disappointments at best, complete failures at worst. Today, I began a quest to find a decent low-fat cornbread. You might have noticed I said low-fat rather than fat-free. I am willing to compromise, at least a tiny bit to achieve something so vital to my eating happiness.

I began by taking plain yellow cornmeal, adding a pinch of salt and a bit of fat-free milk and mixing it all. I sprayed a non stick pan with non stick spray and “fried” the little sliver dollar sized blobs of yellow mush. That is exactly what they tasted like as well.

I threw those out and tried again. This time, I mixed the plain yellow cornmeal with half whole wheat flour. I also added another pinch of salt as well as a pinch of baking powder and baking soda. I really didn’t want the bread to rise much in the frying pan, but the prior experiment was too dreadful to come close to repeating. I mixed this with more non fat milk and fried it again in the non stick spray.

This batch actually browned and resembled in appearance the fried cornbread of my memory. Tasting it, though the texture was certainly not as smooth as the bleached flour and meal blend of the past. The taste was passable, especially when made to be eaten with a good bowl of soup. It also missed being fried in butter or a combination of butter and canola oil of my more health conscious and recent past.This ommission alone may make all my efforts futile, but I am stubborn by anyone’s definition and will not go down without a cornmeal batter…er battle.

You might be wondering why I don’t experiment with whole pans of cornbread, real cornbread. It simply a matter of frugality. This seems to be the least wasteful way to try to find the object of my past corny affections.

There has to be better than this, but for now I am satisfied to take these little cornmeal wanna be’s and dip them in a hot bowl of tomato, mushroom and tofu soup. Every little improvement helps.

We blew the day yesterday with a delicious cheeseburger, complete with sharing an order or fries. They were real french fries we dipped in ketchup with absolute abandon. I expected to feel at least some bit of remorse today, at least grave embarrassment admitting this indiscretion to you, my few and faithful readers. I, however, am savoring the memory with all of my senses. I don’t particularly want a cheeseburger today, or even chocolate. The night is young, though.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 5, 2010 2:49 pm

    I have also decided I need to be on a quest for ‘acceptable’ cornbread! Hopefully one of us will find it.

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