The Joy of Fresh Vegetables and Cornbread

All summer and into fall, my mother cooked fresh vegetables every day. The meat was not a necessity, but cornbread was! Now that I think back about those meals, it seems to me we always had some kind of beans or peas – like green beans, lima beans or some variety of peas like purple hull or Crowder peas. We loved creamed corn, which she cut off the cob and scraped the milk, fried okra, sliced tomatoes, slaw and new potatoes, sometimes cooked on top of the green beans.

But the final touch was mama’s cornbread. It was the last thing she made. She put a generous spoonful of shortening or bacon drippings in her large well-seasoned cast iron skillet and put it in the oven to heat.

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In the meantime, she beat an egg, added milk or buttermilk and Martha White® Self-Rising Corn Meal Mix. When the skillet was piping hot, she took it out and poured the hot drippings into the cornbread batter. Then poured the batter into the skillet and put it back in the oven to bake. When the cornbread was done, she flipped it out onto a plate with the crispy side up and cut it quickly into wedges. Oh my, it was delicious. We like cornbread thin and crispy and that was just the way it was every time.

This recipe is very similar to hers. It calls for adding oil to the batter, but you can heat it for a few minutes in the skillet first, if you like. Just be careful. It’s hot!

Do you have any special fresh vegetable dishes you’re creating right now?

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