Southern Gracious Plenty

Submitted by Christi
Metamorphosis Monday

Metamorphosis Monday hosted by Between Naps on the Porch

Southern Cornbread Before

Southern Cornbread Before

After - Golden and yummy!

After - Golden and yummy!

Southern Food and Southern Cornbread – More than just something to eat! (The first in a series on Southern Food)

One of the things that really defines the South is the food. It is one thing that has always brought us together. Whenever a family suffers a tragedy, the Southern community goes into action to bring food and share in the tragedy. One of the best places to find and learn about Southern food is the community cookbooks. The church cookbooks, the Junior League Cookbooks, the garden club cookbook. All of them are compiled recipes from the homes of those mysterious Southern cooks that have the old family recipes that they are happy to share and pass along.

The first community cookbooks were compiled during the War Between the States (known to some as the Civil War)  to raise funds to treat wounded soldiers, to support family members who had lost fathers and sons and also those who had lost farms to the ravages of the war. After the war, many other charitable organizations continued compiling the community cookbooks and it still continues today.

I love to collect cookbooks but some of my favorites are these community compiled cookbooks. They may never win culinary acclaim, for the recipes contained within are simple recipes from real people using simple ingredients. So many of the recipes have a story to tell, a history of generations past.

In my own history, Southern food was defined by more than what was on the table. It was about my family sitting around the supper table sharing a meal and getting to know each other. It was about sharing our table with the company of friends and family, where everyone was always welcomed. It was also about being in the kitchen with my mother learning how to create a wonderful meal and serving it with warm hospitality.

Southern food – it has a mysterious connotation that surrounds the culture of the South. I hope you enjoy this series of posts about Southern food and some of the stories surrounding the culture.

I have been including a lagniappe with every post for some time. That is part of my attempt at Southern hospitality. Lagniappe simply means “something extra that is added.” The word is used in Trinidad and Tobago, Puerto Rico, Louisiana, Eastern Oklahoma, Southern Arkansas, Charleston in South Carolina, southern and western Mississippi, the gulf coast of Alabama, and parts of eastern Texas. Mark Twain writes about the word in a chapter on New Orleans in Life on the Mississippi (1883). He called it “a word worth travelling to New Orleans to get.” It is something thrown in, gratis, for good measure. The lagniappes that I will include with this series will all be about Southern food.

Today’s Lagniappe: *Southern Cornbread
At one time, corn was “virtually the sole grain of the South and cornbread the true staff of Southern life,” according to A Gracious Plenty, Recipes and Recollections from the American South by John T. Edge for the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi.

My grandmother used to make cornbread and crumble it in a bowl with buttermilk. Personally, I prefer it hot and slathered with butter.

2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup white cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons flour
1/3 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon bacon drippings (or oil)

Preheat oven to 425. Beat the eggs in a bowl. Add the buttermilk, then the cornmeal, and mix. Add the salt, flour, baking soda, and baking powder. mix thoroughly. Place the drippings or oil into a 9 inch iron skillet. Heat the skillet in the oven.

Pour the batter into the hot skillet. Put it in the oven and bake the cornbread for 10 to 15 minutes. Place it under the broiler for a few minutes to brown the top slightly. Turn the cornbread out upside down on a plate. Cut it like a pie and serve immediately.

Concerts from the Kitchen
Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Society Guild
Little Rock, Arkansas
* -The story is that this recipe is from Georgetown, Arkansas, a community of about 75 people located on the White River. This recipe is said to have originated with a cook employed on a nearby plantation.

Photo by fritish via flickr

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14 Responses to “Southern Gracious Plenty”

  1. Fifi Flowers Says:

    That looks sooooooooooo GOOD… a little honey butter and I would be in heaven!

  2. Laura Says:

    What a wonderful post. Cornbread is an important food memory in my familly as well. In fact yesterday I baked my father a pan of cornbread to take to him.

    Good fun- good memories.

    I enjoyed visiting,


  3. Kammy Says:

    Oooooo, I want cornbread now…I have never made it with bacon drippings….sounds good ! Love
    the cast iron pan too !
    Thanks for sharing,
    Hugs ~ Kammy

  4. Missymomof3 Says:

    mmmmm nothing like cornbread fixed in an iron skillet!

  5. KBeau Says:

    You can’t make good cornbread without using a cast iron skillet. I’ve had mine for over 35 years. BTW, I notice that this is from a town on the White River. My husband grew up on the White River in Newport, Arkansas.

  6. Debbie Says:

    mmmmmm…the cornbread looks delicious. My husbands favorite. Southern and food just go together. Thanks for visiting me, please come again anytime. Debbie

  7. Amy Says:

    Ooooh, I love cornbread so much. There is just something homey about it. Yours looks super yummy. Thank you for the recipe. I will definitely have to try this one. Amy 🙂

  8. The Muse Says:

    Way to think outside the pan!
    Brilliant submission!
    I adore it!

  9. Lori E Says:

    Now that is my kind of Metamorphosis. Looks delish.

  10. Carrie Says:

    Mmmm, that looks so appetizing…I love cornbread and could eat some right now!

  11. Sarah Says:

    My son would freak for that cornbread, he loves it like he loves air!

    Thank you for coming to visit my blog. 🙂 It was nice to have you!

  12. Gina Says:

    Thanks for visiting my blog. We love us some cornbread here in the south don’t we? It goes with just about anything. My Mama always fixes it with pintos and onions. Her and Daddy even put it in a glass with milk. There are so many recipes for it, but I’ve never met any cornbread that I didn’t like. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Linda Says:

    Southern corn bread is hard to beat – yummy! Linda

  14. Susan Says:

    MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM. Our Christmas Eve dinner 2 alarm chili (made with steak), and cornbread…our bit of Texas home.

    It was actually the “Late Unpleasantness” or the “Wawah of Nohthun Agression”…it is hard to type “Southern”

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