KY SpoonbreadSeptember 18, 2011 by: Brian
While my fellow ManCavers are busy testing a new signature beercheese, the wife and I are obligated to work at a small country festival in central Kentucky: The Spoonbread Festival (www.spoonbreadfestival.com). Deep in central KY is the small town of Berea, known for it’s local artisians and Berea College. Amid the eclectic galleries, antique shops, and historic builds lies a city park decorated with hundreds of festival tents and thousands of festival-goers. The big draw, and theme, to this country festival is the Spoonbread. Described as a “wet cornbread” or “uncooked cornbread”, the people come from miles around to try this local favorite. From the Spoonbread Festival Website:
Boone Tavern Hotel, in Berea, Kentucky, has long been famous for its spoonbread. Richard Hougen, Boone Tavern Hotel manager for many years, collected some of the best regions best recipes, including spoonbread. Most people agree, that you cannot find a better recipe for spoonbread than the one used at Boone Tavern.
Spoonbread is the richest, lightest, and most delicious of all corn meal breads. The basic ingredients in spoonbread are very much the same from one recipe to another, the major difference being that about half of the recipes call for baking powder and / or sugar while the rest use neither.
Most old-time Southerners did not use sugar in their spoonbread or any corn bread recipes. Perish the thought! In Appalachian Mountains it was unheard of to put sugar in corn bread. But sugar began to appear in more modern variations of spoonbread –Yankee pressure and influence, perhaps!
In his book, Southern Food, John Egerton stated that spoonbread probably originated in Virginia, around 1824. Other authorities maintain that spoonbread can be traced back to the Indian porridge called suppone or suppawn, and therefore consider that to be the true ancestral source of spoonbread. Others say that the butter, milk, and eggs, which made spoonbread such a special dish, probably came after the Civil War. John R. Mariani, in The Dictionary of American Food and Drink, says the term was not used in print until 1906.
Corn, was often called the backbone of Appalachian cooking, is as important to Appalachia as rice is to the Chinese. The best cornbread is made from freshly water-ground meal. Corn meal has been used over the last century to make a corn pone, crackling bread, corn muffins, corn sticks, hoecakes, Johnny cakes, and spoonbread. Spoonbread is one of the old recipes that’s still popular today.
History of Spoonbread provided by Sidney Saylor Farr, author of Spoonbread Cookbook. To request a copy of the cook book call 859-986-9760.
Here’s the recipe offered from the Berea Chamber of Commerce:
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1 cup plain cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 large eggs
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Scald the milk, stir in cornmeal, and bring JUST to a boil, making mush.
- Remove from heat; stir in butter until melted
- beat eggs (to a froth) with salt and baking powder.
- Add to cornmeal mixture.
- Beat with hand mixture for 2-4 minutes.
- Pour into a pre-heated, buttered baker.
- Bake at 350 degrees, 30-45 minutes or until nicely browned.
Best when served immediately with butter, honey, or sorghum on top!
Mancave note: HIGHLY recommend the honey or soghum!!!!