Cornbread is a quick bread made from some type of cornmeal. There are many varieties of cornbread but all contain cornmeal and are quick breads, meaning, they are not leavened by yeast as traditional loaves. Cornbread is uniquely a product of the United States, as corn was used in North American cooking long before Europeans arrived on the continent. However, in Italy, the corn-based mush known as polenta is sometimes prepared into a fried form resembling cornbread. Although the ingredients remain the same, cornbread varies from one region to another.
Cornbread was originated from Native Americans who grew corn and were well aware of its versatility and used it for breads, porridges and cakes. Once the first European settlers began to arrive to the new found land the Native Americans did not hesistate to share their knowledge and corn soon became a highly important food, long before wheat was established in the New World. The first breads settlers made with corn meal were baked in open hearths, sometimes on planks or other implements, and often called “ash cake.” As cooking methods improved, settlers started using their sturdy cast-iron skillets to bake the breads, known by such names as journey-cake, johnny cake, hoe-cakes, dodgers, spoon bread and a variety of other appellations (Jeremy, Jackson 2003).
the fact that cornbread keeps well and does not need to rise gave it a great advantage amongst other favorite foods of the early America. This was a big plus in progressive cooking. Deviations on the recipe developed rapidly, as did the consuming of cornbread, depending on what the cook had on hand that day. It also became very popular amongst both sides Civil War. When could cooked properly, it was a favorite dish. However, when supplies became scarce and the soldiers had to fend for themselves, they created “ramrod” cornbread.”(Betty Fussell, 1992) This was their ration of cornmeal, mixed with water and salt. The thick, pasty batter was then wrapped...
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