I love cornbread. I Really Love cornbread. Luckily for me my husband doesn’t. I eat his share. He likes some kinds of cornbread, like the kind that tastes like a yellow cake with a few a small bits corn meal sprinkled in. I like the recipe that comes on the cornmeal container in all its coarse corn-filled glory.
When I was young we took a spring break trip to San Diego and Sea World. Our family didn’t go on many trips because of the fruit harvest all summer long. Occasionally (rarely) my mom put her foot down and planned a vacation. These vacations usually included a stop at some relative’s house along the way.
On our way to southern California, we stopped to visit my mother’s cousin, Frances and her husband, Wally Gray in Escondido. We spent Friday night and woke Saturday morning to a breakfast that changed my life pretty drastically. Wally had baked their traditional Saturday morning breakfast: Cornbread. I could smell it before I saw it. I was pretty excited at the thought of eating cornbread first thing in the morning.
I grew up putting butter and honey on cornbread. My mother also loved cornbread. She’d bake a pan full and then after eating it the first day, she’d take a cookie sheet and cut the cornbread pieces down the middle, opening them and laying them out to dry in a 200 degree oven for 45-60 minutes. When they came out of the oven they were dried throughout, crunchy and sometimes even browned on the edges. Then we’d put butter on those dry pieces and crunch on them or dip them into hot chocolate. Delicious!
Wally introduced us to something new that morning in Escondido. He served his cornbread with butter and maple syrup. Oh My! It was delicious. My cornbread life has never been the same! I often make a pan of cornbread just for my self. On the second day, I dry what’s not eaten, then I enjoy the crunchy pieces until they are gone. Thanks to Wally, sometimes I can justify having just cornbread for my entire meal. But sometimes, like today, I have it for dessert, dry, crunchy, and always with a little butter and maple syrup.
Below is a photo of Wally and my Dad taken back in the day of our visiting.
I always remember Frances and Wally and my Mom when I eat cornbread. It’s one of those comfort memory foods that connects me with family. I smiled when I read these words in Claire’s Vienna blog yesterday:
I walked down to my favorite spot…the weather today was awesome. Honestly it was 70 degrees…I wore sandals and a short sleeve shirt! I went and sat on the stairs by the canal and wrote in my journal and ate my pastry. It was a perfect hour to sit there and relax alone. When the sun went down, I went over to FHE at the LDS Centrum (6:30). We got dinner for 1.50. SOUP! And cornbread…it was funny because I was seriously craving cornbread all day and I even wrote about it in my journal…I miss having the cornbread Mom always makes. But I ate a lot with my soup. A LOT. Like I had to save up for life.
Maybe this is one of those things that goes from mother to daughter to granddaughter. We may each say, “Let them eat cake! As for us, just pass the cornbread, please!”