This is my adaptation of a recipe from the classic Cooking with Wholegrains, by Vrest and Mildred Ellen Orton, originally published in 1947. A Google search only revealed one mutilated version of this on the interwebs, so I thought I’d do my part for God and country and post it myself. This serves four to six people, goes great with chile or baked beans, only takes a half hour to make, and is, as the title suggests, the best cornbread recipe of all time. As one proof of my claim: You know how regular cornbread is kind of gross to save and eat for leftovers? Not this stuff. It’s almost as good the second time around!
EARLY AMERICAN HOTBREAD
Preheat oven or toaster oven (saves electricity!) to 425° F. Grease a nine-inch-square baking pan, ideally with lard.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the bejeesus out of one large egg. Whisk in one cup milk and two tablespoons maple syrup or honey (but really, you want maple syrup. American maple syrup, not that inferior Canadian stuff).
Sift in one cup whole wheat flour, ¾ cup corn meal (either the regular stuff or masa de harina, e.g. Maseca brand, for an even earlier American flavor), and one tablespoon baking powder. Add one teaspoon salt and stir forcefully with whisk or spoon until complete and harmonious integration is achieved. Then mix in three tablespoons of oil or melted lard with as few strokes as possible. (It’s all in the wrist.)
Spoon into the waiting pan and smoosh and smooth it until it’s flat as Kansas, then bake it for twenty minutes.
It can be cut and served immediately after removal from the oven. A good, flat metal spatula does wonders for removing hot cornbread from the pan.
Leftovers tip: Cut a piece of cold cornbread in half, heap a spoonful of hot salsa on each half, top with a slice of cheddar or jack cheese, and heat it in the toaster oven until the cheese is all melted and bubbly.