Alexandra Duncan

Science Fiction. Fantasy. Feminism.


I fall prey to some pretty strange cravings from time to time. Usually it's sweet gherkin pickles, fried okra, or sushi of some kind, but lately I've been craving cornbread. Not that dry, mealy stuff that sticks to the back of your throat. I'm talking buttermilk, whole corn kernel, and honey cornbread. So moist it might as well be cake. Real hallelujah cornbread.

Given that both my parents are from the South, and I was raised here, theoretically I should know how to make cornbread from scratch on an instinctive level. The knowledge should be hardwired into my DNA. Alas, my mother had more important things to do than bake, and while my stepmother is a wonderful cook, she hails from more northern climes. I made cornbread with Jiffy Cornbread Mix when I was a kid, but until this Sunday, I hadn't ever made real cornbread.

Fortunately, I've eaten plenty of it, so I knew I'd be able
to tell if I had it right. After about 20 minutes in the kitchen, I discovered that (a) cornbread is incredibly easy to make (I don't know why we needed a mix before), and (b) the recipe I had was sweet and moist, but ultimately bland. It needed a little kick, something a spicy to compliment its sweetness. . .

That's when I saw the curry my dad sent us at Christmas, just after he returned from a trip to India. The angels of multiculturalism descended and revealed to me the miraculous union of curry and cornmeal. Thus was born curry cornbread:

1 egg
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp yellow curry
1 Tbs baking powder
3 Tbs corn or vegetable oil
3 Tbs honey
1 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup flour
3/4 cup corn meal
whole corn kernels (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Mix egg, salt, curry baking powder, vegetable oil, and honey in a bowl. Stir in flour and corn meal. Add corn if you wish. Alternately, you can use 1/2 tsp of curry for a less intense flavor.

Grease an 8" or 9" baking pan and pour the batter into it.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Eat with butter, soup, or both!

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