Southern-Style Cornbread

There is something inherently sacramental about bread. It is a metaphor for the Lord’s human body. It is a metaphor for God’s grace. It is a metaphor for money (which is its own sort of sacrament in American culture). It is the perfect Sunday activity. This Sunday morning Karl-Peter and I were craving a taste of old homes—New Orleans–so I went for the Southern Cornbread recipe.

4 tablespoons bacon grease (which happily means you have to make bacon in your cast-iron skillet before you start making the cornbread)

1 cup yellow cornmeal

2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup boiling water
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 large egg


  1. Preheat oven to 450. Put your cast-iron skillet in the oven to heat up with the bacon grease in it.
  2. Mix 2/3 cup of cornmeal with sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, set aside.
  3. Mix 1/3 cup of cornmeal with boiling water and stir to make stiff mush. Whisk in buttermilk, until smooth, then whisk in egg.
  4. Combine dry and wet mixtures. Pull out the pan and add the bacon grease. Add batter to the hot skillet and return to the oven.
  5. Bake until golden brown, 20 min. flip onto wire rack, turn right side up and cool 5 min before slicing.

KP wanted his half of the bread to have bacon sprinkled on top. It was much crispier than the northern cornbread recipe. I am not a fan of corn meal products, generally, but these crispy squares taste more of bacon than they do of corn. Karl gives it 3.5 stars, and I concur.

We are obviously doing a not-so-subtle Where’s Waldo with Izzy in a lot of these photographs. She is a huge fan of this project and her dropsy muzzle dusts the tops of my bare toes when I’m standing at the counter. As she drools, it’s like my toes go through the foam-pad and sudsy carwash everyday—an unexpected joy of bread baking.


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