There are so many wonderful recipes around this world and I’m blessed to have tried just a handful of them. I was raised on good Southern cooking. We grew things in our garden and cooked them up just right to lay out on a table with vegetables galore, meats, and hot cornbread or biscuits, fresh from the oven.
When I was younger, once a year we’d all gather for a feast so big it would make kings cry - The family reunion. I’ve written about our old family reunions before and went into details in my first book, but today I’m looking back fondly and figured y’all would forgive me if I reminisce with you a spell.
To begin with, you have to picture me with two pony tails, one on each side of my head. That was my childhood hairstyle and in all of my memories I’m running around with ponytails flapping in the wind. The reunions involved a lot of running around, too! The folks would set up chairs all over the yard and the kids would be turned loose to chase chickens, run with dogs, and visit with goats and cows until someone rang the dinner bell and we all gahered around to bow our heads over the meal.
The table was a unique one, Papa Reed would saunter to his barn and pull out his big red tractor, hitching it to a flatbed trailer to pull it up by the house. Ladies would come and spread pretty bed sheets over it as makeshift table cloths and then it would get loaded down with every type of dish imaginable. Oh the food we had that day!
I got to thinking about all of this because of something I made recently. Have you ever heard of cornbread salad? I’ve heard of it for years but surprisingly, had never tasted it! After having person after person ask me if I had a recipe for it, one day Linda Wood posted on my Facebook page “Christy, you need to make cornbread salad sometime. I’ve got a recipe that I use and when I make it I could just about eat it all“. I had planned on working up a recipe of my own due to demand but when Linda posted that I responded “I think you’re right, Linda, and I think you should share your recipe with me!”
Lo and behold, she did! Now honestly, this is one of those dishes that is just really hard to imagine what it’s gonna taste like. I knew I liked everything in it, but I was going on faith in Linda and all of y’all that it was good. I made it when my Mother in law was here so I’d have a partner in crime to help me eat it and she and I were curious as all get out while I put it together. We didn’t even wait for it to get cold before we were dipping spoons in the bowl for a taste.
My verdict? CORNBREAD SALAD, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE? My mother in law and I ate every blessed bit. Sure, it took us two days, but we’re no quitters. This stuff is amazing. It’s kind of in the same family as potato salad and definitely something you’d expect to find at a family reunion or barbecue.
I did alter this a bit from the traditional recipe but I’ll tell you exactly what I did in the notes and recipe so you can un-alter it if you like You see, I’m not a mayonnaise person. Alright now stop right there if you are a mayonnaise person. I know, I know. I am a horrible person and it’s a wonder they don’t lock me up somewhere to keep me separate from society. I would set aside a whole week to mourn my woeful character flaw of not liking mayonnaise but I’m too busy doing other things so we are just gonna have to move on from that. So here is the deal, if you love mayonnaise, you’re just going to have agree to love me despite this and I’ll agree to love you despite whatever character flaws you have too. Deal? Deal. See? That’s what family does
You’ll need: Onion, Corn, Mayo, tomatoes, bell pepper, dry ranch dressing mix (optional), 1 pan crumbled cornbread, and some crisp fried bacon.
Crisp Fried Bacon. Doesn’t that sound good?
Pour ranch dressing mix into bowl with mayo.
You can skip this step if you just really like mayo, but if you’re like me and want a little something to help you take your mind off the fact that it’s mayonnaise – or if you just love the taste of ranch, do what I’m doing here.
Then stir it up.
What is this? Well let me tell you one thing, it surely isn’t me adding in one teaspoon of bacon grease and stirring it up for an extra KAPOW of flavor.
No siree…it surely isn’t that.
~whispers~ if you saved any bacon grease from your bacon, pour in one teaspoon but don’t tell anyone because they’ll react as if you’d told them you didn’t like mayonnaise! I’m not going to put this in the recipe so only the folks who read this part of the post will know this little secret ingredient – shhhh.
Stir it up til it’s all good and stirred up like.
Dice up your tomatoes, onions, bell pepper, and drain your can of corn.
Dump all that in a bowl.
A big bowl.
Add in your crumbled bacon.
Make sure you taste of the bacon to see if it is still good because it’s been sitting around for like…five minutes now…and it never hurts to test bacon.
By eating it.
Well now we done wasted time jabbering so you better test it again.
Bacon, the candy of meats!
Crumble up your cornbread and dump that on top of the veggies.
Add in mayo mixture.
Or as Linda said it “All that lovely mayonnaise!”
Stir that up really good until well coated. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or until chilled well.
In your lovely Friendship pattern pyrex bowl
Garnish with beautiful sliced red tomatoes and serve cold.
I’m happier than a bird with a french fry!
~Unknown, but an awfully good way to feel!