This is the old family recipe straight from the Great Depression by way of Granny Cooksey of Isola, Mississippi. It is what I have called Hard Times Cornbread.
It has no eggs and no sugar, since those pantry items were better used for other things during hard times.
This is all that has been made in my family for as long as my memories go back. It is all that my mother and her seven sisters made, and each of their children who can cook, and all that is made in my house too. Here is what you need:
With AP Flour.
With Self Rise Flour.
1 cup Martha White Corn Meal
1 1/4 cup Martha White AP flour, 1/2 tsp Baking powder 1/2 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup Martha White Corn Meal
1 1/4 cup Martha White Self Rising Flour with 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup Buttermilk
Sufficient additional water to make mix slightly thicker than pancake batter
A good seasoned cast iron skillet
We have quite a few. This stack includes a 12 inch, 8 inch and 6 inch skillet. The 12 inch makes enough for a family of six or eight and the 6 inch one makes a fine dinner pone for the wife and me.
The one used in this recipe is the 8 inch. For the 12 inch skillet, double the recipe. For the 6 inch skillet, cut recipe by 1/3.
You also need a 390 degree preheated oven.
I stick the skillet in the oven as it preheats. You don't need the skillet until the oven gets to temperature anyway. And the skillet must be hot when the batter goes in. The preheating oven is a good place to get it hot, but not too hot.
When all is ready, mix the batter (thick please) and add it to the hot skillet with a tablespoon of vegetable or bacon oil added before the batter. It should sizzle.
Place in center of the oven and bake for 30-45 minutes. Cooking times will vary, and you will learn what your oven does. Granny Cooksey baked hers in a wood stove for years. My oven is electric convection. The cornbread from Granny's wood stove was pretty good to a four year old kid. She did just fine when they finally got Propane but I think she missed her wood stove until the day she died - just not cleaning out the ashes. (I think that was the youngest daughter or Pawpaw's job)
The top should look like this when ready to come out of the oven.
The skillet side is crunchy magic! And if your skillet is properly seasoned, the pone falls right out.
Here, Have a slice
In My Opinion, a perfect wedge will be tender, slightly moist and you should see individual grains of bread. This one is perfect. Crunchy brown crust, tender bread and wonderful corn flavor. The butter is ok too. Pan Fried Cornbread
Do you ever do it this way? It is quicker than baking the pone and you get a nice crunch on both sides! The taste seems a little different too. Not better or worse, just different.
Make the batter slightly thinner than if baking in the oven.
Take a hot skillet on the burner eye and drizzle in a little oil.
Spoon the batter on the hot oil like a pancake.
It should sizzle. You can see the edge like this when it needs to be flipped.
I forgot to take a photo of the finished pone of skillet fried cornbread. You will be forced to look at this shot.
I wish I had taken a photo of crumbled cornbread and chopped onions in a cold glass of milk. If you've never tried this, you have my pity.
Really good on the plate soaked in pea or butterbean juice with chopped onions too.