Clean Cornbread

by Daisy on 10/05/2015

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I grew up eating cornbread at least once a week.

That would be six times a week fewer than my grandmother made cornbread for my father’s family. The drill back then was biscuits for breakfast and cornbread for lunch, every day. With plenty of pinto beans, turnip greens, and cold buttermilk to go along with it. And don’t forget the big slice of raw onion on the side.

Cornbread has taken a beating since those days. Corn is genetically tweaked and grown on depleted, chemically-fertilized, herbicided, pesticided soil.

It has depressed me to look at corn, cornmeal, and yes, cornbread, despite its having been a staple of my ancestors’ diets for several generations.

Since the Ko-Mo came into my life, my relationship with corn, particularly cornbread, is undergoing a renaissance.

IMG_6823_2This is “dent” corn. Most of the corn grown is dent corn. It’s also known as field corn. It may be easier to say what it is not–it isn’t sweet corn or popcorn. This is the kind of corn used to make cornmeal, and the only kind you can grind in most mills. I got this in bulk from Azure Farms. Since it’s organic, you also know it’s non-GMO.

I put it in the hopper of the Ko-Mo:

IMG_6819_2And put on the lid. Wow, pretty wood.

I need to stop trying to wear nail polish.

IMG_6820_2Then watch the meal emerge, adjusting the fineness of the grind as it grinds.

IMG_6821_2

I make cornbread without a recipe, a little of this, a little of that. Eggs, milk or buttermilk, salt, baking powder, a little baking soda, sometimes a little onion or sage.

IMG_6828Put an iron skillet in the oven, melt up a little butter or heat up a little olive oil . . .

IMG_6829Swirl the butter around to coat the pan, pour the excess into the batter and stir it up, then pour the batter into the sizzling pan.

IMG_6832The edges are already starting to crisp.

IMG_6834Pure, simple cornbread.

IMG_6836_2My husband’s grandmother crumbled the leftover cornbread from lunch into a glass of buttermilk every evening for a nightly snack.

It sounds weird to most people, especially my kids, who start saying things like “that would be the grossest thing for anybody to do,” and “that is disgusting,” but I know they don’t know what’s good.

Kids never do.

 



{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike Corbeil October 5, 2015 at 11:57 pm

Yes, true corn bread is great, as are all real foods that we unfortunately have less and less of today. I recall having eaten corn bread and thought it very tasty, but it probably wasn’t the best kind. It probably had junk white or refined sugar and other unrecommendable ingredients. It was tasty, but it’d be great to get “the real stuff”, truly good corn bread.

I’ve had tasty banana and zucchini breads, but these were mostly made with junk white sugar. I forget what my mother used and it might’ve been brown cane sugar, for she used that a lot, but it wouldn’t have been equivalent to certified organic. Still better than junk white sugar, but I’d still prefer a truly good sugar. What would thaat be? Healthy non-pasteurized buckwheat honey? Pure maple syrup? …

I like organic blackstrap mollases as well but doubt that this’d be the best source of sugar for these breads. It’s good with pancakes and for making oatmeal cookies though, so … ?

My pancakes and oatmeal cookies are … unbeatable; please excuse my lack of humility.

Jen October 6, 2015 at 8:43 am

Along the same thought train as Mike–I noticed you didn’t sweeten the cornbread with anything…I have never made cornbread without sugar (is that sacrilege?!). Is the end product sweet enough minus a sweetening agent?

Daisy October 6, 2015 at 1:33 pm

Jen–There are two schools of thought here. The unsweetened cornbread school (of which I am a member) feels that sweet cornbread is cake, not true cornbread! I confess I’ve tasted some delicious sweetened cornbread in my day, but I don’t tell my family (shhhh!). Sweeten if you prefer, but unsweet cornbread has a great, true corn flavor. The beauty is in the intrinsic taste and the crispy edges!

Daisy October 6, 2015 at 1:37 pm

Mike Corbeil–Maple syrup would probably be good. Honey, too, but you’d lose some of the benefits of a good raw honey by cooking with it. Just put it on the cornbread after you bake it.

Deborah October 6, 2015 at 5:02 pm

Love me some good cornbread with pinto beans, onion and tomatoes! That and either mashed potatoes or pan fried ones were our main meal a lot growing up. It’s still good!

Christy October 6, 2015 at 5:49 pm

This looks amazing! I’m going to have to try this! I bought some organic corn meal from bulk natural foods.

Karen Pullen October 7, 2015 at 12:29 pm

I also make my cornbread in an iron skillet, like my Grandma did before me. I put the oil in the skillet to heat up, as you did with the butter, but I don’t mix it into the batter…just pour the batter in and let the oil move up and around it…edges are always beautifully crispy… No sugar for me either.

Trivia: When I was stationed in Brazil and made cornbread, my Brazilian friends insisted cornbread was cake or “bolo”!

farmkiti October 7, 2015 at 11:51 pm

Wow, now you’ve made me hungry. Plus I’m inspired. I think this week I’ll make my hubby some of the family’s famous “Granny beans,” which get their name from his Grandma who used to make them better than anybody. My hubby LOVES pinto beans; he was raised with “bean juice” (the excess water from cooking them) in his bottle as a baby! Believe it or not, I didn’t even like beans till I started cooking them and got the flavor just right. Bacon (or salt pork or ham bones; just about any kind of salty meat), onions, salt, and that’s it. YUM! Oh, can’t forget the all-important CORNBREAD! Unsweetened and crumbled right into the beans, with lots of bean juice in them. I always cook my beans with LOTS of water to make sure they’re plenty juicy without watering the juice down. You have to put in all the water you’re going to use when you first start to cook them; that way you get nice, flavorful, non-watery bean juice. Oh, sorry, this was about cornbread, wasn’t it? They’re just such naturals together, I can’t hardly think of one without the other. Except maybe cornbread with butter and jam, or butter and honey, or whatever you happen to have in the house since it goes with just about everything. OMG, now I’m REALLY hungry! OK, I’ll put the beans in to soak tonight. Cornbread to follow tomorrow. 🙂

Mattie October 8, 2015 at 5:08 am

I was raised on corn bread & buttermilk. When Kroger puts milk on sale (like this week $4/5 for 1/2 gallon) I will grab a jug and head home to make some cornbread. It really is a treat.

Daisy October 8, 2015 at 7:50 am

farmkiti–Agreed on all counts. Don’t forget the slice of raw onion!

Daisy October 8, 2015 at 7:52 am

Karen Pullen–Love the trivia! I’ll ask my Brazilian friends about bolo and see if they’ll make me some.:)

Daisy October 8, 2015 at 7:59 am

Christy–Try it!

Daisy October 8, 2015 at 8:03 am

Mattie–People always wrinkle their noses when I say how much I love to drink buttermilk. It seems to be an okay thing to cook with, but not to drink by itself. Maybe one day it will become trendy, but until then, more buttermilk for me and you!

M. February 16, 2016 at 4:55 pm

Warm cornbread with cold cottage cheese is soooooo good. I like buttermilk, so I’ll have to try cornbread and buttermilk.

Jennie April 10, 2016 at 8:18 am

HOLY CANOLY is the Ko-Mo pricey!! LOL You are one lucky lady. I am going to seek out organic cornmeal. 🙂 Wow.

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