You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Red Sox Live

0

1

▲  3rd Inning 2 outs

Heavy with Southern sentiment (and equipment)

I love cornbread. So much that I recently bought a large cast-iron skillet — primal cookware that has long intimidated me — expressly to perfect my cornbread. I mean Southern cornbread, not cakey, sugary corn muffins and the like. Southern cornbread is a descendant of frontier cornpone — meal, water, salt, and grease — but made more gracious with additions of buttermilk and egg. Both versions glorify the rich, warm essence of maize. And the use of slightly gritty meal, not flour, gives a pleasing burr to the texture.

In “Southern Food,” from which this recipe is adapted, author John Egerton writes that it could “be claimed in any of the Southern states.” Cornbread surely is canonical for Southerners, but this recipe is not sacred text. Definitely use stoneground meal for the flavor, but experiment with varieties and grinds. My best recent batch was made with half blue cornmeal and half yellow, and with yogurt mixed into the buttermilk. For higher bread increase the baking soda (Damon Lee Fowler in “Classical Southern Cooking” uses about twice as much as Egerton).

Continue reading below

Does the cast-iron skillet really make the corn bread better? Yep, for the delicate, crackling bottom crust that the searing metal produces. And besides that, I swear there must be an aerobic benefit to cooking with a pan this heavy.

John Burgess can be reached at burgess@globe.com.
Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.