What do you do on New Years Day? Are you recovering all day from the parties that you attended the night before? Have you already begun working on your resolutions for the new year or are you putting them off for just one more day? Especially those of you with diet resolutions, since ya know you must have your New Year’s Day feast. Otherwise you won’t have good luck and good fortune. Okay, I admit it… I am superstitious all the way down to my bones, but only about some things. There is no getting around my little superstitions, no matter how silly they may seem. It must be the Irish in me. It’s a good thing that my surfer has a high tolerance for the silly 🙂 Poor California boy, didn’t know what he was getting into.
Here in the south, with my family at least, we start taking down the Christmas decorations and then make our traditional dinner. This year I did not have to cook…I know, what a shocker! I actually wasn’t in the kitchen today. My Dad and Miss Sherry did all of the cooking for us. They made Ribs, chops, collards, Hoppin John, cole slaw, tomato & pasta salad, pumpkin spice pie, apple pie… you name it they made it. They always cook for the masses. Yummmm! I am so TICKLED…I was able to bring home some for later.
In case you have never heard of it or had it, Hoppin John ( spicy black-eyed peas over rice) is always eaten on New Year’s Day for good luck. You must finish them or it doesn’t work. I am not sure where the part about finishing them came from, that may have been my mother’s brilliant way of getting me to finish my beans, but Hoppin John has been a tradition in the Carolina states since around 1841. We also have a tradition of eating greens. Mustard greens are generally eaten in the mountains and collard greens in the low country. The greens are representative of good fortune with your money, since they are well… green and they look like folded money when they are cooked.
Did I happen to mention that Dad and Miss Sherry made corn bread today? Corn bread is another fabulous southern food, but it can cause some controversy as well. If you are not from the south let me explain. There are various types of corn bread depending on geographical location. Of course each location believes their corn bread to be the very best. Corn bread rivalry can bring out a Hatfield and McCoy mentality of days gone past in any good southerner.
This year we had two different kinds. It was a corn bread battle. Fortunately for us there was no controversy, harsh words or blood shed. There was just some good ole’ natured ribbing and teasing going on in the kitchen. Miss Sherry’s corn bread was all gone by the end of dinner. Dad on the other hand, had some left over. That’s alright… it just means more for me!
My Dad likes to make his corn bread the way his mother did when he grew up in the mountains. A cast iron skillet is a must for this recipe. You could use a different type, but the crust will not be as good.
Dad’s Corn Bread
2 cups (apx.) cornmeal yellow or white
4 tbsp butter
First preheat your oven to 350
Warm the butter in your skillet over med high heat.
In a bowl mix 2 cups corn meal, one egg and just enough milk (it is best to add a little bit of milk at a time) to make your batter not loose or thin, but not thick and grainy either.
In the meantime keep a watchful eye on the butter in your skillet. As soon as it starts bubbling, right before it starts to brown, sprinkle enough dry corn meal to lightly cover the butter.
Let the corn meal and butter just start to bubble, no more than a few seconds or it will burn. This is what gives corn bread its fantastic crust.
Immediately pour your batter into the skillet and transfer into your preheated oven. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 25 to 30 min.
For this recipe a flat skillet/griddle is best.
Miss Sherry’s Fried Corn Bread
1 cup yellow corn meal
pinch of salt and pepper
Preheat your skillet/griddle on medium high heat
Mix cornmeal, salt, pepper and enough water that your batter is loose. This batter is much more similar to thin pancake batter. It needs to be able to spread out some.
Pour enough oil on your skillet/griddle in order to fry the ” corn bread cakes”.
Pour the batter into small cakes and fry until golden brown on both sides.
Pat excess oil off with paper towels. These are also quick and easy to make when you are out camping.
I apologize for the slightly blurry pics, but Dad and Miss Sherry were moving fast 🙂
I hope that you had a wonderful day with family and friends enjoying your traditional New Year’s Day dinner. May all of your superstitions be meet and satisfied in order to get 2010 off on the right foot.
If you ever get the chance to make both kinds of corn bread, let me now which one you prefer. It will amuse my Dad and Miss Sherry to know who wins the corn bread battle.