Hot Water Cornbread is a recipe as old as the Tennessee Hills.
Speaking of which, do you know how you can tell if a cow is from Tennessee? The legs on one side ae shorter than the other..hehe. That’s an old one, referencing how hilly the state is. So if cows are grazing, it is most likely on the side of a hill...ok explaining jokes takes the wind out of their sails, doesn’t it?
This is a basic recipe that can be gussied up any number of ways. I’m gonna go plain and straightforward with you today so you have the basic recipe and can work from there.
I wanted to show you the plain version to let you know that you don’t HAVE To gussy it up, it will still be delicious, while at the same time encouraging you to really have fun with it. The simpler versions are what were most often made in the old days when ingredients were scarce and we had to make do in order to put food in our bellies.
You know, these days, a lot of people are too far removed from hunger to be able to appreciate food. I’m not talking about enjoying a meal at a fancy restaurant or being able to sniff a glass of rotted grape juice and tell someone where it came from or what kind it is, I’m talking about appreciating the fact that you have food to eat. Appreciating being able to sit down to a meal and truly feel grateful that your stomach will be full when you get up.
I’m talking about having an attitude where, if the pot of stew is a little salty, you eat it anyway and be glad to have it regardless.
So many people don’t have that gratutude, instead there is a snooty, almost callous, attitude towards food. This concerns me because if a body can’t sit down to something made by any random grandmother and express real and sincere gratitude for the meal, regardless of whether or not it tastes good to them or is cooked as they would like it to be, something is just flat out off.
I think a lot of people forget that, when looking at these simple recipes, they were invented out of necessity in order to survive and based on what folks had on hand or could easily acquire. For me, that inspires a reverence for them, and a respect for the wisdom of the old ways. It also makes me want to make them just like they did, if only to feel a little closer to the wisdom and life of my ancestors.
So…lets get started.
For the basic recipe for this, you’ll need: Self rising corn meal and hot water.
You can use your favorite self rising cornmeal mix. Martha White has all sorts of different ones and I like the white best but that is because it’s what my great grandmother used.
The recipe calls for boiling water to get it hot but I’m just going to use my coffee pot to dispense me some. Because that is what it does…I’m still respecting the old ways with the recipe but there is no sense in adding unnecessary work. Back in the day folks were plum tired and had far too much common sense to go around the block to get to the mailbox.
Y’all remember that cute little photo of the new addition to my kitchen in my Confessions of A Pyrex Hoarder post?
This is what that area looks like on a daily basis – it’s my coffee station. I have it set up like this so folks can go make a cup of coffee and grab a snack without having to intrude into my cooking domain area while I’m working
And sometimes I step over there to get hot water when working on a post…
Add your corn meal into the water.
Stir that together until there are no lumps left and it’s formed a good old batter. If you need to add a tablespoon or so of water you can. If you need to add a little more corn meal, you can do that too.
Heat 1/4 inch of oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
Once that is hot, carefully drop your batter by spoonfuls into the hot oil and lightly press it flat with the back of a spoon.
Cook until browned on that side, then flip it and cook it until it is browned on the other.
Remove to paper towel lined plate, basket, or bowl. Serve warm
It’s that easy!
These are great on their own or with butter, maple syrup, molasses, etc.
I’m really looking forward to the National Cornbread Festival this weekend in South Pittsburg, Tennessee and I hope to see some of y’all there! If you’re going to be around and have time for me to give you a hug, just drop by the Judges tent at the cornbread cookoff stage anytime between 12:30-3:00. I’ll be inside the tent judging, but if you tell someonee working around there that you’re there to see me, they’ll give me a holler so I can come out. Don’t you dare think you’re being a bother, either! I’d be offended if you didn’t give me a chance to say hi! If I’m in the middle of judging, it may take me a minute or two but I’ll hop right on out there as soon as I can because I don’t wanna miss seeing you!