First you need an iron skillet. One of those big black things that can be used as a weapon (assuming you can lift it high enough to swing since it weights about forty-three pounds give or take.) About a 9″ will do. That’s about the spread of your hand from pinky to thumb.
Now the thing about an iron skillet is it has to be “seasoned”. So if you don’t own one, go down to the nearest flea market and buy one there. Do not, I repeat, do not buy a new one! Get one from old Stella, take it home, wipe it out with a paper towel, and pour some bacon grease in the bottom.
You don’t have bacon grease? Sigh. Do you want to learn how to make cornbread or not?
(There’s an old folklore that says you should never, ever wash your iron skillet. This is true. If you do have to put water in it for some reason, for the love of all things holy, don’t put soap in it!!!)
All right, you have what I consider to be the most important part of making cornbread. Now (rubs hands together in anticipation).
You’re gonna need white cornmeal mix. Personally I like Shawnee Mills brand. But since I think it’s an MIO product (Made in Oklahoma), I’m not sure where you might get it. Martha White is my mom’s favorite, and since this is really her recipe…
The next ingredient is buttermilk. Yes, you need buttermilk. No, sweet milk won’t work. So get a little container. I’ll wait for you.
And a egg. That shouldn’t be so hard. (No egg substitute, this is Southern cooking!)
All right. I think you’re ready.
This is the easy part. Kinda.
Preheat your oven to 500 degrees. (Cornbread is not for wimps.)
In a small bowl, mix seven (7) heaping tablespoons of the cornmeal mix. (You did get cornmeal mix and not plain corn meal. Go check.) One (1) egg and enough buttermilk to make it like a thin-ish pudding. No, I do not know how much that is. Not too thick, not too thin, that’s all I can tell you here.
Remember that bacon grease? Add some to the bottom of your pan. Just enough to coat the bottom nicely. You may have to put it in the oven for a minute or two in order to melt the grease a little. Okay, okay, if you just can’t find any bacon grease, you can use some butter. (No olive oil, yuppies!)
Pour the batter in the pan and cook for about twenty minutes. The top should be a nice golden brown, and the sides should pull away from the skillet.
Once it has baked, turn it out on a plate covered with a doubled-over paper towel. (Trust me on this one.) Cut, butter, and enjoy!
Disclaimer–I cannot guarantee the quality of individual efforts, as I am an expert.
Cornbread is a lot like biscuits, the more you make it, the better it is. Or was that s…
Keep practicing! <3