Saturday, May 26, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week #22

Family Recipes – 52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy

Week #22 – Family Recipes

Week 22: Family Recipes: Family recipes are about more than just food. They provide sights, smells and memories of family history. Which family recipe are you most thankful for? Who was the first person to make it, and how was the recipe handed down through the generations? Has the recipe stayed the same all these years?

What a delightful exercise!

There are so many recipes I think I love from my Grandmother’s, and some from even my great-grandmothers! This probably should have been a tough choice. However, the recipe I am truly most thankful for would have to be our cornbread recipe.

The first person to use it? I honestly have no idea. I know that Grandma Bean made it probably the same way her mother, and her grandmother, made it. And hers is the most traditional, so let me share it:


  • 1/2 cup lard, melted
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • Get your oven hot. [Today, this means about 375-degrees.]
  • Put the lard in a skillet [cast iron only] and while it’s melting on the stove, mix the other ingredients.
  • Swirl the lard around in the skillet, making sure it greases all sides and bottom thoroughly, then pour the hot lard in the mixing bowl with the mixture. Stir to mix well.
  • Now pour the batter into the skillet and bake in the oven about 35 minutes or until a broom straw inserted into the center of the skillet comes out clean.
And that’s how Grandma Bean made it. A good Southern cook!

The recipe has been changed slightly over the years. For instance, we no longer use lard, but we use vegetable oil, and only half as much! The baking soda and salt are no longer used, and self-rising flour is substituted for the all-purpose flour. Because of the fat, buttermilk is seldom used, instead 2% often takes its place.

However… every once in a while, I simply have to make it as close to what Grandma made as I can. While I don’t have a wood cookstove as she did, for a little while, I mix it all up, pour it into the skillet, and slide it into the oven. Pretending the whole while that I’m standing next to the warmth from that old stove. Waiting for a slice of that delicious, grainy cornbread! When it comes out, cutting it right away and slathering on the real thing… butter!

Why is this the recipe I’m MOST thankful for? Well, it’s versatile! You can eat it with pinto beans, or have it with soups or stews. Cold you can put it in a bowl and top it up with milk and eat it like you would cold cereal. As I was raising my five children, money was extremely tight. And making cornbread is very inexpensive! We often made a whole meal out of cornbread, butter and homemade jelly or jam I’d canned!

Any way you look at it…

…you simply can’t beat Grandma’s cornbread!

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