Mildred Binkley’s Golden CornbreadThe Bread Lady
When I found this recipe alphabetized under “G” in Mildred Binkley’s recipe box, I thought, “Now there’s a woman with a good memory,” because there were no other cornbread recipes in her little wooden treasure chest, especially not under “C”. Her name conjures the image of someone who wears two strands of pearls and cat eye glasses while she writes the helpful hints and gossip columns in the weekly paper on a light blue typewriter. Her flossy blonde hair frozen perfectly in place with a generous spritz of AquaNet while she smirks at a clever pun about Mrs. Doris Wiley’s mishap at the druggist..
However, Mildred Binkley isn’t her real name, but a pseudonym that makes it possible for her to attend church and help prepare the afternoon potluck while everyone shares the latest about poor Doris. Her contribution is, of course, cornbread.
Now, I’ve tried many a cornbread recipe, however it’s only recently that I’ve began exploring the southern variety. Tea is meant to be sweet here, but cornbread is surely not. Having grown up on the West Coast with family from the Midwest and North, the cornbread on our table was always sweet and slathered in butter and honey. However, that being said, this cornbread was surely a welcome surprise.
A few field notes: I was out of shortening so used lard instead. I think it gave a bit more flavor, but will make this again after I replenish my shortening. Rule of thumb, I always use butter-flavored because why would you not. Second, I subbed half & half for the milk because I typically don’t have it in the house, and really any time I can add a bit more fat, I always get a more moist texture. I’m interested to see what would happen if I added buttermilk.
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup sifted flour (all-purpose)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 cup milk
1/4 cup shortening, soft
Sift together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. Add egg, milk, and shortening. Beat with rotary beater until smooth, about 1 minute. (Note: I melted the shortening for easier mixing and used a whisk). Bake in a greased 8″ square baking pan or in muffin pan @ 425 degrees 20-25 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean). Serve warm.
Let me know if you make this and how you feel about it! Did Mrs Mildred Binkley create a good recipe? Do you have one you like better? Share it and we’ll do a cornbread showdown!