A Cowboy’s Breakfast!
“Hillybilly County Fair” Cornbread Recipe
I lived in the States for a spell in the early 80’s, and I remember home-made “County Fair” cornbread with fond memories; the area that I lived in was part of Pennsylvania Dutch country in Lancaster County, where the Amish people live in small communities – it is an area of great interest and their culinary (and social) traditions still hold a great deal of fascination for me. It wasn’t unusual to see horse-drawn carts (buggies) on a daily basis, and those Amish people who did own cars, had no chrome or anything “flashy” or ostentatious on their vehicles, of which most were black or dark blue in colour. Their cuisine was adopted by local people and communities and one recipe that was very popular, although to sweet for me, was “Shoofly Pie”. I remember visiting weekly Farmer’s markets where seasonal produce was set out in wonderful “stepped” arrangements, and hand-baked Pretzels, bread and preserves were also very popular. Cornbread wasn’t only available to buy at the County Fairs or Farmer’s Markets, but was also served with chilli and breakfast in all the local “Diners” and restaurants.
Although today’s recipe for “Hillybilly County Fair” Cornbread is not a Pennsylvania Dutch recipe, as such, when I made it recently it reminded me of the fabulous breakfasts I used to enjoy when I lived there many years ago…….this recipe does hail from a “county fair” however, and was shared with my by an American friend who found the recipe on a bag of yellow cornmeal she bough from her local county fair in Texas. When I made it a few weeks ago, with a bag of authentic American cornmeal, the taste memories came flooding back and I decided to serve it with bacon and scrambled eggs, as well as “cans” of black coffee.
My “Pioneer” cornmeal booty was courtesy of a kind friend over “the pond” who sent me a selection of local ingredients, by way of a swap in return for a package I had sent her. The original recipe for today’s cornmeal was all in US cups, but I have changed the measurements to Metric for those of us in the UK and Europe. There a few other tweaks to the recipe, namely the use of bacon drippings and/or butter and self-raising flour, but other than that the recipe for this cornbread is as it was when shared on the bag of cornmeal at the County Fair. It’s not exclusively a recipe for cowboy’s breakfast, but when I served it, I decided to use my “enamel” plates and mugs, which reminded me of “camp-fire” cooking!
As coincidence would have it, a few weeks after I made my cornbread, Dom from one of my favourite blogs Belleau Kitchen, also made a batch, and if you want to see his recipe, which is quite different, then his recipe is here: Dom’s Cornbread. With thanks to Paula who directed me towards this wonderful recipe and whom also sent me a wonderful stash of Mexican chillies and spices a while ago……DO try this simple bread recipe, as well as being extremely tasty with bacon and eggs, it is also fabulous when served with chilli, soups, beans and stews. If you cannot source cornmeal, then Polenta is a good substitute and if you are vegetarian, then just use butter and not bacon drippings in the recipe. Bye for now, see you later this week with more recipes and news, Karen