Grandma’s Christmas Gift

The year I got married, my grandma gave me her iron skillet for Christmas. “It’s already properly aged,” she said proudly.  “And I’ll teach you all my receipts, too.”  (Grandma, who was from the Ozark Mountains in Missouri, always called recipes “receipts.”)

I loved that old skillet.  Not only because it was a great cooking pan, but because untold years of family history were baked into it.  As Grandma taught me to fry chicken, golden and crispy, she explained how to cook on a wood stove–“Just in case.”  She taught me to fry apples drenched in cinnamon, and as they sizzled in the bacon fat she told me about a neighbor family in the mountains who had twelve children named alphabetically. (The first two were Alice Bettina and Clyde Demont, but I can’t remember the other ten. To this day, when I can’t sleep, I go through the alphabet naming babies.) Grandma taught me to fry green tomatoes, and told me what a treat they were in the mountains when the family had been without fresh produce so long they couldn’t wait for the tomatoes to ripen

Oh, and the cornbread. That was my favorite. Here’s Grandma’s “receipt”:

Heat the oven to hot.

Beat together 2 eggs, 3 glugs of buttermilk from the jug, and a handful of lard, melted.

Add 2 fistfuls of cornmeal, 1 fistful of flour, a generous pinch of salt, and a generous pinch of baking soda.

Mix everything together well.  Turn the stove up hot and melt lard in the skillet. Pour in the batter and leave it until it sizzles. Take the skillet off and stick in it in the oven.  Bake until the cornbread is golden and done.

Mmmmm~! Just thinking about that crispy-edged cornbread makes my mouth water!

If you decide to try Grandma’s receipt, let me know what you think.

“You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.”

Bishop Desmond Tutu


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6 Responses to Grandma’s Christmas Gift

  1. Jean Stewart says:

    Oh, Kay, what memories! Being from Georgia, our relatives cooked much the same way. I have my mother’s black iron skillet and Bill’s mother gave me her prized “Mrs. Dull’s Cookbook” with recipes much like your grandmother’s and statements like “enough salt to fit in the small of your palm” and “cook in a hot oven until done.” We make cornbread the exact same way–no flour, no sugar, just basically cornmeal, buttermilk, soda and lard or bacon grease. Just too good! I make it for our turkey dressing (along with buttermilk biscuits) and have to make extra of both to have enough left after snackers just “take a pinch” to make the dressing! The joys of family through cooking. Thanks for sharing and taking me back. Blessed Christmas, dear friend.

  2. kaystrom says:

    Oh, what a lovely response, Jean! I want to stop by your house for cornbread and a taste of that cornbread dressing! Yum~!

  3. pratap jena says:

    Dear mum,
    it is really made me to remember my Grandma also,she was giving me a bread wich was
    made by Raggi powder with salt ,According to the Area wise we may get the eatable thimgs and really this all for remembernece to us.please remember us in yours
    prayer,Convey our good regards to yours nears&Dears one.

    yours & His.Pratap jena

    • kaystrom says:

      Thank you, Pratap. I would like to taste your Grandma’s bread!
      Thank you also for your earlier note. I will be sending you a message next week.
      Blessings, brother~

  4. Alice W. says:

    Oh for the memories, I have one of those iron skillets also, I bought mine not seasoned, took a long time to season it. I have wonderful meals and bakes with it, nothing like it before or since.

  5. kaystrom says:

    There is a lot to be said for hand-me-down gifts, isn’t there? Mine was well seasoned. Hope you make something especially yummy over Christmas!

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