Friday, November 25, 2011

Taos A to Z Excerpt: Cornbread

Definition: “A type of bread made from cornmeal and typically leavened without yeast.” Native Americans were using ground corn for cooking long before the European explorers arrived in the New World. The Native Americans learned early to dry and grind corn into corn meal, the basic component of cornbread. When mixed with eggs and corn flour, the easiest and simplest of cornbreads can be made. Thin, dense, and flat, it was a healthy food that could be transported long distances for months at a time. Cornbread was first discovered by Europeans during their exploration of North America. Europeans who had to use the local resources for food, fashioned cornmeal into cornbread. Cornbread was popular during the Civil War because it was very cheap and could be made in many different sizes and forms.

Cornbread is a common bread in United States cuisine, particularly associated with the South and the Southwest. It is often eaten with pinto beans or chili. Cornbread crumbs are also used in some poultry stuffings, with cornbread stuffing being closely associated with Thanksgiving Day turkeys. Some prefer a sweetened version of cornbread, while in the South and the Midwest, the sugar is left out and the cornbread is saltier. In Texas (and the Southwest), the Mexican influence has spawned a hearty cornbread made with fresh or creamed corn kernels, jalapeno peppers, and shredded cheese as a topping. Variations of cornbread include: hush puppies, corn pones, and johnnycakes. ~Jean

Read more about Taos, Santa Fe, and Northern New Mexico on Taos A to Z

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