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Corn pone

The battle for our stomachs and skillets.

There is tiny agreement concerning cornpone’s provenance, or even its evolution for that matter. Most dictionaries lead with its use as an adjective for anybody or something lacking sophistication, with only secondary references to it as a foodstuff. But discerning the variations between cornbread and cornpone is something but simple. Some sources trace its creation to the Indians of pre-Colonial America. Others say it is rooted in the Civil War. In reality, somewhat infuriatingly, there is small agreement regarding something relevant to cornpone, even whether it is 1 word or two.

A rustic cousin to cornbread, cornpone recipes vary practically as broadly as these for chilis. Some call for cooking in an iron skillet, but so do some cornbread recipes. Even though some cooks define cornpone as obtaining no sugar, milk or eggs, a lot of modern-day cornpone recipes call for them. And although some sources say it’s the form that can make the variation, the fact is that cornbread and cornpone each can be shaped like muffins, little mounds, or ears of corn. Its variations are a lot of and often whimsical, like the corn dodger that blends properties of the two, adding a savory note with the inclusion of onion. Often, cornpone is indistinguishable from cornbread.

Regardless of whether or not cornpone was produced throughout the War Between the States remains contested. There is evidence positive—by the number of mentions of it in Civil War histories—however, that cornpone was a staple of armies on each sides. “The soldiers produced due with cornmeal, water and grease from bacon or salt pork to make a thick batter, which they fried in a pan above a campfire,” says Bill Savage, proprietor of Pungo Creek Mills on the Eastern Shore, which creates heritage cornmeal, and a Civil War re-enactor who has eaten a honest volume of the two cornpone and cornbread. In accordance to meals historian Patricia Mitchell, Chatham resident and writer of Confederate Camp Cooking, it’s not either-or when it comes to cornbread and cornpone: “Usually, breads named ‘pones’ are also of the less complicated ingredients—cornmeal, water, possibly salt—although some cooks get really creative with the components they put in their cornmeal breadsticks whilst still calling them ‘pones.’”

Savage acknowledges that you may possibly include milk or eggs or sugar to cornpone, but any far more than that, he says, and you end up with cornbread versus cornpone. “You have to bear in mind, the goal of cornpone was making do with what you have.” Great guidance.

Simple Cornbread

one cups cornmeal

four teaspoons baking powder

one teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons sugar

1 cups buttermilk

cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine dry substances. Whip eggs and buttermilk with each other, add dry components, and pour into greased eight-by-twelve-inch pan. Bake thirty minutes.

Cornpone

two cups cornmeal

two teaspoons baking powder

one teaspoon salt

four tablespoons shortening and/or bacon drippings

Combine dry substances. Minimize in shortening and/or bacon drippings. Add milk to make a stiff batter. Kind into wanted form with hands and place in a greased skillet. Bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees (or above a campfire) 20-30 minutes.

Cheesy Cornbread

Using standard cornbread recipe, add one cup grated sharp cheddar to batter.

Cracklin’ Cornbread

Utilizing fundamental cornbread recipe, include one cup cracklins to batter.

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