[dropcap]I[/dropcap]’ve never had two batches of cornbread that were alike. Things like cornbread and biscuits, are the unique fingerprints of a good cook.
My mother made hers using cornmeal, butter, flour, butter, sugar, butter, baking powder, butter, and unsalted butter. Then, she’d scald the bottom of the cornbread until it was dark brown, and serve it with fried chicken livers. Always with chicken livers. My father and I would come to blows over the last remaining liver, and the last piece of cornbread.
The way my mother-in-law makes her cornbread is totally different. She adds jalapenos, onions, and cheese, thereby transforming it in to an homenaje Mexicano. My brother-in-law and I come to blows over that last piece.
My grandmother took a traditional approach. She made her cornbread the old-fashioned way. She prepared it in a rectangular pan that had miniature corncob-shaped sectionals. When it finished baking, she’d pile the muffins into a serving bowl. The strips of caramel colored cornbread tasted like a delectable mixture of Crisco and the incarnated Jesus Christ.
And no cornbread conversation would be complete without discussing the way my aunt made her cornbread. Here’s how she did it: first, we’d hop into her old Cadillac. Then, we’d ride up to a soul food cafe on the other side of Clayton County, Georgia. She’d bust through the front doors and say, “Hey, y’all got any that cornbread left?”
To which they’d usually reply, “Psssht, girl, make you’re own cornbread.” Then, they’d send us away with an entire box of cornbread, collards, butterbeans.
And a small box of chicken livers for her chubby nephew.