SoCS – Food Differences

Linda’s son Alex is in the hospital. Hold a good thought for both of them today. Even with all she has on her plate, she always seems to find time for us. Thank you, Linda.

Check out Linda’s blog if you want to join in – just check out the rules and the contribution of other bloggers.

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “difference.” Whatever the word “difference” conjures first in your mind, write about it. Enjoy!

Growing up in the country, most of our food was pretty simple. Most of our bread consumption centered around cornbread and biscuits. I have very vivid memories of watching my paternal grandmother prepare and bake cornbread. She always melted butter in the bottom of a cast iron skillet, added the cornmeal mixture to the skillet, and spooned the butter that eased up around the edges across the top of the bread. It was luscious.

But even as common as cornbread was, there were differences in how it was made and eaten. We always made it with buttermilk, but some people made it with regular milk and some even added water. We often had cornbread and milk for supper. Warm cornbread was crumbled in a bowl and topped with milk then served with a side dish of raw spring onions with a plate of salt to dip them in. My grandfathers both ate theirs with buttermilk, a taste I never acquired. I decided to eat cornbread and milk one night recently. It was not as I remembered. There are certainly differences in our tastes as we age and move around.

One of my favorite ways to eat cornbread was fried in a hot cast iron skillet. It looks much like a pancake and slathered in fresh churned butter – well, there is nothing better. Unless perhaps it is hot baked cornbread with a little apple-butter on top.

Then there is cracklin’ bread which is basically cornbread baked with the addition of cracklin’s – small pieces of fried pig skin and fat – a byproduct of rendering lard. Our families did not butcher hogs, so we rarely had it.

One big difference is also whether cornbread should be sweet or more savory. This decision can be regional or cultural. Mine is always savory, but my son loves it sweetened.

While not really cornbread, my favorite southern side dish is without a doubt, hushpuppies. Hushpuppies are a fried cornmeal/flour mixture, seasoned usually with onions and other spices and then deep fried. Trust me I know every place that serves hushpuppies and the differences between their recipes. (My all time favorite comes Pinky’s West Side Grill in Charlotte, NC.)

I remember going to my maternal grandmother’s house when I was very young. She made a huge 12” pone of cornbread and served it upside down and cut into slices. At my paternal grandmother’s we always broke the cornbread. I was so excited because I thought we were having cake for dinner!