Get Corny: 15 Ways to Enjoy Soft and Sweet Cornbread

February 16, 2018

My earliest memory of eating cornbread is on a first grade field trip. A woman wearing a bonnet poked her head out of a covered wagon and offered me a crumbled yellow square straight from a cast iron pan. I took it and ate it. It was pretty good.

To be clear, the woman was wearing a bonnet and rummaging around in a long forgotten mode of transportation because she, and everyone else around her, were part of a historical reenactment, a peek into what life looked like for settlers of the North American west. The field trip was the culmination of a historical unit on dust-coated pioneers who boarded rickety proto-cars and made their way across the vast American expanse. Over a century and a half later, I was just happy to be offered something to eat.

Since that strange first encounter, I’ve sampled many a cornbread. In Texas, they’re requisite. I tossed back one a day—in muffin form, no less—in my high school cafeteria and have yet to go to a barbecue where they’re not offered. Cornbread, like any good thing, varies across a spectrum. It can veer into dessert territory or swing back salty, as a savory accompaniment; it can be hard and dense or airy, fluffy and crumbling at the touch.

Shop the Story

Our site has no shortage of cornbread recipes—and many, many ways to purpose it into other foods. Try your hand at a loaf, then play around with it. And if offered, always accept a bit of cornbread from a woman in a bonnet. You won’t regret it.

Start with the Bread

Now Riff!

Have you had any weird encounters with cornbread? If so, let us know.

Join the Conversation

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

Valerio Farris

Written by: Valerio Farris