"The North thinks it know how to make corn bread, but this is a gross superstition. Perhaps no bread in the world is quite as good as Southern corn bread, and perhaps no bread in the world is quite as bad as the Northern imitation of it."
So said Mark Twain in an autobiographical sketch in 1898.
As we’re finding out in Twain’s recently published autobiography, the man had strong opinions. Most people like cornbread, but there is an ongoing battle about what is “real” cornbread. All variants include cornmeal, which was a staple in Native American cooking predating European contact. Beyond that, ingredients vary from amounts of sugar added and other ingredients, which can include cracklins in the South, molasses in the North, and jalapenos in the Mexican influenced Southwest.
My favorite recipe was passed on to me by my mother-in-law, who is not even from North America (so all regional arguments can stop here.) It’s a simple but incredibly moist corn bread, enriched with creamed corn, green bell pepper, onions and cheese. If you want it spicier, substitute an equal amount of diced jalapenos for the bell pepper. This is excellent with barbecue, chili, or as a hearty snack on its own. —Beautiful, Memorable Food
two 9-inch round loaves
cans cream-style corn
grated Monterey jack cheese
chopped green bell or jalapeno pepper, depending on how spicy you want to make it