Grandma’s cornbread


This has been a Bad Week. On Monday, I was in a car wreck. It wasn’t bad at all, but it still happened and I still have to deal with getting my car repaired as well as a tooth that I discovered chipped a bit in it.

Tuesday was a pretty normal and boring Tuesday.

On Wednesday, I thought my car had been stolen. After wrecking the contents of my purse and gym bag as well as scavenging in and around my desk, I decided my best bet was to ask the building’s reception desk if any keys had been turned in. Of course none had been, and at this point, I was starting to get really anxious, but I still had a little hope. I’d find my car in the garage and hopefully the keys would be on the ground next to it.

As I trudged down the slow incline of the parking garage to the lowest level I could have possibly been fortunate enough to find a spot, I started to freak out: Someone must have stolen my car! At this point, my mind was racing, I was on the verge of tears, and I started to worry about having to buy a new car and even figure out how to get home for the night.


I’d been retracing my steps on the way from my car to the office in my mind, remembering how I spent a few extra seconds in the car listening to a story on the radio and how I must have just missed my purse when I dropped the keys in it. Then I remembered that that was yesterday. It was yesterday oh sweet Jesus it was yesterday! I left my car to get its oil changed and I walked to the office today! I hustled over to the mechanic and was saved but frustrated with my memory.


During bad times, like when I sulked frantically through the parking garage or drove away from a fender bender that left me frazzled, I want to run away to my grandma’s house and sit in the kitchen by her space heater and eat her warm apple sauce and chicken noodle casserole. I’ll dream of stealing away to my car, driving the eight horrible hours to Kentucky, sitting in the warm niceness and watching all of the bad things melt away.

I can’t do this though, because there’s this thing called work and commitments and that car drive is really long, so I find other ways that make do. If I can’t go to Grandma’s kitchen, I can bring a bit of Grandma’s kitchen to me. When I got home, I made Grandma’s cornbread, something she makes for every Sunday dinner once it gets colder and something that’s perfect with any soupy or saucey meal. I ate it with a big pat of batter and a tall glass of milk (one of her brothers loved actually loved to crumble cornbread into a glass of milk and eat it), and although it didn’t fix everything, it made the day a little better.



Grandma’s cornbread
makes 6 servings

Note: To make authentic cornbread like my grandma, you must you bacon grease– Grandma keeps a little vat of bacon grease in her fridge, drizzling and accumulating the drippings whenever she makes bacon so she has the grease on hand to flavor anything and everything she makes. I don’t eat much bacon, and I definitely don’t have a little stash of fat handy, so I fry one piece before making cornbread. It leaves behind enough grease to coat the pan nicely. If you don’t want to do this, heat the pan in the oven, and swirl 2 teaspoons vegetable oil around the pan before adding batter to the pan.


1 slice of bacon
1 egg, scrambled
1 ½ cups milk
2 cups Martha White self-rising white cornmeal “Hot Rize”

1. Preheat oven to 450F.

2. In a 10 inch cast iron skillet, fry the bacon. Once cooked, remove the bacon and set aside. Swirl the bacon fat around the skillet. Turn off the stove, but keep the skillet on it so it remains hot.

3. In a medium bowl, quickly stir together milk and egg. Add cornmeal and mix until well combined.

4. Dump the cornbread batter into the hot skillet. Immediately transfer to the oven, and cook for 20-25 minutes, until the top is golden and browning in spots.

5. Using a spatula, transfer the cornbread to a plate and cut in wedges. Serve each slices with a pat of butter.

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