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Fried Cornbread Recipe

Cornbread is a staple that goes with so many foods: it soaks up bean juice and acts as a sandbag between foods; not to mention eating it plain with a big slab of butter.

Cornbread is the bread of the south. The aroma - in the oven or frying in the skillet - is wrapped around many memories. Most southern cornbread recipes do not contain sugar, but do call for buttermilk. If you're baking with milk, though, you may want to add pinches of salt and sugar just to spiff up the flavor a little.

Whether it's fried or baked, cornbread tastes best coming out of a properly heated cast iron skillet. Fried over a medium heat to keep from burning or baked long enough to turn crusty brown on the outside with moist innards, cornbread will go with just about any meal. In the olden days it went with every meal.

Southern cooks are particular about their recipes, but each is probably adapted from generations past along the way. You'll find pones, mush, and sticks as well as an amazing array of foreign ingredients such as onion, jalapenos and black-eyed peas.

Fried cornbread is also called hot-water cornbread. The simplest recipe requires only three ingredients:

-self-rising cornmeal
-hot water

The amount of oil is really up to you; it doesn't have to be deep-fried, but any amount from a few tablespoons to a couple or three inches in the skillet will do the job.

You can use any skillet, but once you've had cornbread piping hot from cast iron, you won't have it any other way.

This will make a small batch, but is easy to make larger batches. If you've never made fried cornbread, you should start out small, anyway. Just be sure to have lots of butter. It's addictive!

Slowly pour about 1 ½ cups of hot water into 1 cup of self-rising cornmeal. Mix it up so it holds together. More water and it will cook up like pancakes; less water and you can form balls and then press them down with your hand to flatten them a little. Fry until golden brown (turn only once for best results).

That's it. Now go fry up a batch and break some Texas bread with the neighbors.

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