What WOULD Bekki Eat?

Well, I'll start with what I wouldn't eat. I wouldn't eat margarine. Or tofu. Or lowered-fat anything. Olestra is right out. Hydrolyzed, isolated, evaporated, enriched, or chocolate flavored "phood" won't pass these lips.
What will I eat? Real food. Made-at-home food. Food that my great-great-grandmother could have made, if she had the money and the time. And if she hadn't been so busy trick-riding in a most unladylike way.

Monday, January 21, 2008


I've finally made a good gluten-free cornbread!

Ok, I'll need to back-up a bit. You see, cornbread is a highly-charged issue in some areas of this great nation... enough to cause another civil war (or War of Northern Aggression, according to some of my in-laws.)

Yes. My mother-in-law, bless her heart, is a Kentuckian. Born and bred in Louisville, the northern-most bastion of The South. And, that would be Loe-ah-vuhl. Not Loo-is-vill. Get it right, Yankees.

I hail from Dorothy-Land. I was born in Texas, so I have dual citizenship, but my folks moved back to the Tornado Central soon afterward. I'm a Midwestern girl, not a Southerner. I walked blindly into marriage, not knowing about the Great Cornbread Divide. The basics of the battle are: some like it sweet, some would like to choke you until your eyeballs pop out and your head explodes if you add any sugar to that batter.

So, there you go. I felt it necessary to explain things a bit. Now, to make matters worse, I have to make mine gluten-free. Gluten itself doesn't play a big part in cornbread, but pretty much all standard recipes do call for wheat flour. I tried a few mixes... which all were apparently aimed at mimicking the Jiffy corn muffin mix that is available everywhere south of the Mason-Dixon. Which is odd, because there are plenty of Southern mamas that are decidedly in the choke-you-till-you-die camp. And the Jiffy mix is sweet.

I didn't like those mixes. (I did like the Jiffy mix. Sssshhhh! Don't tell my MIL, please!)

So, tonight, I got out my big, black baking binder. (I keep printed out recipes in binders... one for baking/breakfasty things and one for dinner-type stuff.) I turned to the "Breads" section... noticeably bare these days. There were three recipes for cornbread. That's all. Hmph... I have some more explorative baking to do. Anyway, one of the recipes I've already tried. It sucked. Why is it still here? Moving on... another has been in this binder, untried, for years. Again, why is it here?? Oh, well. The last is handwritten. On notebook paper. By my mother-in-law.

She's from Kentucky. She knows her cornbread.

Ok, I'll give it a shot.

I've made it before, with wheat flour, and it was good. Let's see... what could I substitute for the wheat? One of the many problems facing the gluten-free baker is the long list of alternative flours to choose from. Moving away from gluten really isn't restrictive, there are a dizzying number of options, that only the skilled baking-science expert could properly choose from.

So, I shrugged and said "Let's try sorghum."

I think I remember something about Southerners using sorghum syrup back before mass marketers took over the world and groceries became cookie-cutter consistent from Maine to Alabama. So... that must mean sorghum grew well down South... so maybe they used the flour, too. Maybe I'm being all historical and recreationist. Cool.

I baked it... I tasted it... it's goooood. Here's the recipe:

Country Cornbread

1 1/2 cups cornmeal (some say true Southerners eschew yellow, my MIL said nothing about the color)
3/4 cup sorghum flour
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp baking powder (I heaped mine, to help the gluten-less flour rise, no science behind it)
2 eggs, beaten (poor eggs!)
1 1/2 cups milk (I used half hazelnut, cuz that's what I had, and half chicken stock... cuz... why not?)
6 Tbspns shortening (bacon grease, palm shortening, NO trans fats!)

Heat shortening in cast iron skillet (I put the shortening in the skillet in the 400-degree oven before I measure and mix. You want the iron hot, then tip the skillet a bit to coat the sides.)
Combine dry ingredients
Beat eggs with milk
Add milk mixture to dry mixture
Add hot fat to cornbread (stir, of course)
Pour into hot skillet
Bake about 25 minutes, until a little brown on top.

Slather with salted butter. (If you've never paid attention to whether or not your butter is salted, it probably is.)

By the way... don't worry, I am not completely crazy. Partly maybe. Not more than half. Anyway, my mother-in-law does NOT read blogs. She doesn't really even get online. She has one of her minions, er... kids/husband print interesting things off for her.

If one of them somehow stumbles across this page, pretty please don't print it off for her. She cooks better than me and always has. I bow to her greatness.

1 comment:

Henny said...

thank you for posting this recipe! I have tried looking for a good GF cornbread recipe to no avail! I miss cornbread!! my family thanks you in advance. :)

About Me

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Tejas, United States
I am many things... all at the same time. (No wonder I don't get much done!) I am a wife to a retired infantryman, mother of 3, stocker (and stalker) of the fridge, passionate fan of food, nutrition, ecology, coffee, wine, and college football. I love all things witchy and piratey. I often cook with booze. I feed stray cats. I don't believe in sunscreen. I don't like shoes and really hate socks. And I currently can't eat any gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, coconut(!?), or sodium metabisulfite (aw, shucks, no chemical snackies.) Sometimes even citric acid gets me. But only sometimes.