Buttermilk Cornbread and New England vs Southern Charm

IMG_6308Cornbread is a staple in the south, there is no doubt about that! I have always loved cornbread, but it was not something I ate on a regular basis, it was actually rare for us to eat it. Living in New Hampshire and being born and raised in New England, the foods differ quite a bit. I love the Southern culture, I love the Old southern charm and the long hot summers and the best that I love the most, the super short and far less cold winters. Winter in New England is daunting and dreadful. I would love it during the Christmas season, when it actually snowed anymore for Christmas, but I don’t find anything charming about days that sometimes don’t get above 10 degrees and you step outside and your lungs are burning and you can almost feel ice crystals forming on them and your toes go numb and it chills you to the bone, a chill that no matter how hard you try, you cannot warm up from once getting that cold! There are for sure things I love about my New England culture, there is no seafood like that of the cold Atlantic waters, non. Southener’s who have never had it will say “oh just go have some gulf shrimp!” Yes, they are correct, it is delicious! But you just can’t get Maine Lobster in the gulf! I also love the cozy “old” charm of the New England downtowns, but have managed to find some of that here and it is very comparable to where we lived in New Hampshire.

I’ve always wanted to live in the south. I have no idea why honestly, I have just always been fascinated with the southern lifestyle and culture, the food (be it, it’s not always the healthy kind, but it sure is good!), the beautiful crepe myrtles and magnolia trees, the amazing weather (minus tornados, but NH has blizzards) and the super sweet people. Even when you tick of a southener they still show grace and simply “bless your heart” in just a little different tone that puts you in your place politely. I’ve taken to that because where I am from, well, to be frank, we didn’t mince words and we showed complete emotion at all times. If you didn’t like being cut off in traffic, you flipped the bird to the drivers as well as give a nice long honk of the horn, all while mumbling profanities under your breath. I mean after all, that shows incredible tact and serves such purpose, doesn’t it? Neighbors and church members and other acquaintances that you would run into in public would avoid you at all cost, as my friend and I named it “ditched ya down another aisle.” It took me, a hardened, tough non touchy northern girl quite a while to adjust to being in a grocery store or such and running into someone I kind of know and they make it a point to come up to me with a big smile, a “how are you?!” and the part that really freaked me out but I secretly loved, a great big hug! These people hardly knew me and they were hugging me in a store because they saw me! After almost 3 years now, I am that person who will approach someone with a big hello and a giant hug anywhere and everywhere! I truly love it in the South.

I think in New England we have to be tough and gruff. It’s expensive, and it’s cold so very much of the year. It made me bitter! There are a lot of good things about New England, don’t get me wrong, it’s beautiful, the fall foliage is to die for beautiful (although, I was so happy to see we still get a very pretty fall foliage in north AL, that I had not expected!) and there are huge mountains and no scary snakes or spiders typically to look out for. Once you live in the south though, you realize those fears or so crazy, you just stay on guard and literally I have seen 1 snake in 3 years. The south feels so much like “home” to us, like we are meant to be here.

The food, ahhh, the food! I have gained 10 pounds, partially due to picking up cooking and baking as my favorite hobby, but also from the good fried food! Hush puppies and BBQ and Slaw (although much of the south thinks vinegar slaw is the only way, I beg to differ, mayo and vinegar is the true way!) Krispy Kreme donuts, chick fil a, I could go on and on and on! So I’m trying so hard to develop some self control. One of the things I noticed was served here so often is Corn Bread. I had never made it before and I thought it must be fairly easy, right? Yes, it is and it is so delicious! I’ve really perfected my cornbread recipe and I have to blog it before I forget exactly the amounts of what I added to my mix because my last batch was perfect! Perfect cornbread in my world is slightly browned on the edges and top, moist yet still crumbly! All this with a bit of a sweet flavor, with a touch of spice. If you are a cornbread fan, please give this recipe a try. Here goes!

Ingredients:

3 cups of White Lily self rising Cornmeal mix (I’ve tried others, this is hands down, like no other, it’s all I will use now!)

2 large eggs

2 cups of fat free buttermilk

2/3 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup honey

1 heaping tbsp sugar

1 tbsp crushed red pepper

2 tbsp parsley

Before I give the directions I have to say one very important thing. You can make cornbread in any old baking pan, but until you make it in a cast iron skillet you will never experience the true taste of real cornbread, and it will never be considered “Southern cornbread”. You just have to make this is a cast iron skillet to appreciate it! Ok, now for the directions!

Grease the whole inside of your cast iron skillet (or baking pan if you must) with Crisco. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and place you cast iron skillet in the oven so it heats up with the oven. You want a hot skillet when you pour your mixture into it! Place the 2 eggs in a medium size mixing bowl and beat. Add the cornmeal mix, buttermilk, sugar, vegetable oil, and honey and mix well. Add the red pepper and parsley and again mix well. Take the hot skillet carefully out of the oven, add the mix and bake immediately for about 20 minutes or until nicely browned and cooked through.

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