If you don’t want to crawl inside this buttery cornmeal biscuit and live there, you are stronger than me.
Skillet bread, corn pones, hoecakes, johnnycakes, shortenin’ bread, cornbread. You can’t do anything wrong with cornbread. Except use cornmeal from the grocery store.
My cousin started grinding corn as a project for 4-H. He never stopped. You can find him selling his cornmeal, and grinding his corn live, in West Virginia at the Black Walnut Festival in Spencer every October and the Mountain State Arts & Crafts Festival in Ripley every July. (Left, my cousin’s son manning the cornmeal sales table at the Black Walnut Festival.) If you don’t live in West Virginia, you can find fresh-ground cornmeal at your own local fairs and festivals, farmers markets, or any place that sells organic foods. It’s worth it. You’ll never go back to Jiffy mix. My favorite thing to do when my cousin is grinding corn behind the barn? Take cornmeal fresh off the grinder and run into the farmhouse kitchen to bake the freshest cornbread in the world. There. Is. Nothing. Better.
Favorite farm cornmeal story: My cousin’s mother, Georgia, makes this cornmeal salad. I thought it was good and I asked her for the recipe. My cousin’s wife made a comment that my cousin won’t eat that cornmeal salad. Surprised, I said, “But it’s made with his cornmeal!” She said, “No, it’s not! Georgia got the recipe off a Jiffy mix box and she has to follow the directions exactly and that means making it with a Jiffy mix.”
She’s 78. She follows directions!! The directions say to USE A JIFFY MIX. Because she got the recipe off a JIFFY BOX.
I just want to say, for the record, that no matter what your directions say, use fresh-ground cornmeal if you can get it. And I know, I have become a cornmeal snob, but it’s not only my endless free supply of cornmeal here. I’ve tasted it. It does make a difference. But if you can’t, at least use real cornmeal, not a packaged mix. Use the best, and freshest, cornmeal you can get. And try my Sour Cream Cornmeal Biscuits. (Which go perfectly with Country Chili.) You will think you’ve died and gone to heaven if you eat one of these biscuits right out of the oven.
Though, you know, if somebody dies while they’re eating one, don’t come after me. You were warned.