Monday, November 09, 2009

Granddaddy's cornbread

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days of the year. In my previous life, I always hosted an Orphans' Thanksgiving at our house. I would buy the biggest bird I could find, gather all of our friends who were stuck in town with no family, and we would throw down for the day and into the next.

I started cooking days in advance. There were no fewer than four dozen biscuits coming out of my oven. I made a giant pitcher of cajun bloody mary's that we started in on first thing in the morning. Sometimes people would bring their favorite family dish to share, but most of the time, I cooked all of it - because that was the way I liked it.

By midnight, the leftovers had been put away, pulled out and perused, and put away all over again. There was a stock pot with the turkey carcass simmering away on the stove so that my freezer would be well stocked with stock. The pies sat out on the table tempting those who had any sliver of room left, and no one cared if they were using their same wine glass that they started with earlier in the day.

I have a stash of recipes that I used every year with the exception of the turkey. I always looked for a new turkey recipe to try. Kept things a little fresh each year.

Now we have a more traditional family Thanksgiving that we share every year with our good friends Boo and Tom. Sometimes her family comes up from Florida as well. This year, we will have four children at our table, three grandparents, and three couples. Boo will have bird duty, and I think she's leaning towards a brine. Yummy.

Blogging everyday in November gives me a chance to share some of my favorite recipes for Thanksgiving. I'm starting with this recipe that I need to laminate at some point. It is in my granddaddy's hand writing and is the first step in recreating my grandmomma's dressing.

Editorial note for all y'all non-Southerners reading: Dressing is what you would call stuffing, except you don't put it in the bird's butthole, and it's way more moist and tasty.


1 Cup flour
1 Cup yellow cornmeal*
2-4 Tbsp sugar (I use only 2)
1 Tbsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup cooking oil or shortening**

In one bowl, stir and blend flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, and baking powder. In another bowl, beat together eggs, milk, and oil. Mix meal mix with egg mix, and stir until batter is smooth. Do not over beat.
Bake at 425 in well greased 9x9x2 pan*** for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

* If you can get locally ground, it really does make a difference, and Granddaddy actually says you can use yellow, white, or blue
** I use canola oil, and a little less than called for because I melt about 2 Tbsp of butter in the iron skillet that I've heated up before pouring in the batter.
***I never cook cornbread in anything but cast iron. This recipe calls for your biggest skillet most likely.

You'll need to make this a few days before you plan to put your dressing together because you have to let it sit out and get stale.

Next, we'll talk about my grandmomma's dressing which my brother and I have tried tirelessly to recreate. We've both come up with yummy dressing, but I don't think either of us have hit it spot on yet.