That magical time of year, we can eat cornbread every day.
One Thanksgiving, (it was more of a 'Friendsgiving,') I was the only one who brought stuffing to a dinner of over twenty people. I made a cornbread stuffing. Like all my stuffing and chili (and pretty much anything else I cook), it was a prototype. Sometimes the prototype is a flop. But this batch was incredible, and I'll never be able to recreate it. Not ever again.
I made my way through the obnoxiously crowded room, to the buffet, where there were a host of other dishes—potluck style. Everyone had brought a dish to bring. It appeared, there were a couple trolls in attendance, determined to ruin everyone's Thanksgiving dinner with gluten free, nut-free, vegan, sugar-free, enjoyment free food. There was something called a ‘Vegan Paleo Pumpkin Pie’ that looked like something fallen to earth, from outer space. It was horrifying.
Thank God! I thought. I had the mind to bring stuffing. And delicious stuffing at that. I was saved.
I went to the kitchen to fetch myself a wine glass and, literally, as I was rummaging around the cabinets for a glass, the party was called to the table and a crowd set upon the buffet. I was at least ten people deep (I'm not too proud to say, I'm always at the front of any line for the buffet) and in a panic behind the undulating, slow moving crowd.
By the time I was reunited with my stuffing, there was only a cranberry and crumbs left. I'm surprised those assholes didn't lick my pyrex clean.
To this day, I'm weird about my cornbread. I'm even weirder about my cornbread stuffing. Forever chasing the One That Got Away.
Here’s my totally not-special recipe:
1 cup flour (white, pastry if you got it)
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2/3 cup granulated sugar (closer to a cup)
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup melted butter
1 large egg
1 cup milk (whole milk, even if it means using the last of your wife's milk so you have to run to the grocery store and buy some more before she has her morning cup of coffee)
I mix the dry and the wet separately. Stir in the melted butter with the milk/egg. If you pour without stirring, (unless your milk and eggs are warm,) the butter will congeal into big clumps and leave melted pockets in the cornbread and it will be weird.
Once you combine the wet and dry, mix only as much so the clumps have disappeared and then immediately scoop into a well-greased pan. The reasoning for scooping immediately is that the wet reacts with the baking powder and the batter ‘rises.’ If it rises in the bowl, before you scoop, it ‘deflates’ in route to the pan. Scooping it immediately helps it rises in the pan, before going into the oven, all those air bubbles make the cornbread fluffy and cake-like, rather than sturdy and dense.
Serve with honey, butter and cracked salt