Appalachia Overheard




“What you going to eat for supper?”

“Cornbread and milk.”



Overheard: snippets of conversation I overhear in Southern Appalachia


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  • Reply
    Janice Stout
    July 7, 2017 at 11:40 am

    My Mother introduced me to cornbread and milk. These types of things I believe are born out of necessity. She never ate it with fresh cornbread but cornbread that was a few days old and dry. My Mother’s family lost everything in a house fire and then came the Great Depression. Nothing was wasted. You have a hungry family with free milk from the cow and days old cornbread. It was considered a treat – like a dessert – in her childhood home.

  • Reply
    June 26, 2017 at 5:27 pm

    It doesn’t get any better than cornbread and milk.

  • Reply
    June 25, 2017 at 8:51 am

    Thank you, Mr Ed Ammons, for typing out that whole recipe and directions – I will certainly try it!!
    And thanks also to Tipper, for starting this conversation 🙂

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 24, 2017 at 9:01 pm

    I forgot to say that I got that better buttermilk at Ingles. Milkco is the distributor for Sealtest and Ingles is a major shareholder in Milkco. So all their milk is from Milkco.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 24, 2017 at 6:39 pm

    b. Ruth – I buy Sealtest Nonfat Buttermilk. The label says 0 fat. It says it is made from cultured nonfat milk. It is the the closest to the old timey buttermilk I can find. I have to drive by 4 Food Lions, a Bi-Lo, an Aldi and a Walmart to get it. That’s 16 miles and 23 minutes but it is worth the extra effort. Any old buttermilk will do for cooking but if you want to drink some too, get Sealtest. Pet makes good buttermilk too but I haven’t seen it here in a long time.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 24, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    }{Heavenly Cornbread}{
    My mother is in heaven now but she still makes cornbread. She sent me this recipe.
    1 cup stone ground yellow corn meal (not cornmeal mix)
    ¾ cup plain all purpose flour
    1 ½ teaspoons baking sodie
    ½ teaspoon baking powder
    ½ teaspoon salt
    1 large egg
    1 cup nonfat buttermilk
    2 big tablespoons of rendered bacon grease
    1 – 8” cast iron skillet
    Preheat oven to 450° or as hot as it will go.
    Break the egg into the cup of buttermilk and whip with a fork until thoroughly blended.
    Place the skillet in the oven
    Measure the dry ingredients into a sifter. I use a stainless steel mesh strainer. Sift into a medium bowl.
    Stir with a spoon to blend dry ingredients.
    Put the grease in the skillet.
    Working quickly add enough of the wet ingredients to make a thick batter. Continue to stir until the grease melts and just starts to smoke. Take out the skillet and carefully swirl the grease around to coat the sides then pour about 2/3rds of the grease into the cornbread batter. Set the skillet on a medium burner on the stove top so it doesn’t cool down. Stir the batter until the grease is well blended. The hot grease will cause the batter to rise so work quickly. The batter should be thin enough to pour without too much scraping of the bowl. The batter should sizzle as it contacts the hot grease.
    Bake for about 20 minutes or until the cake of cornbread is done to your liking.
    If you like a more dry crust, invert the cornbread onto a plate.
    If you like a more moist crust, invert the cornbread onto a plate and leave the skillet on it until it cools enough to handle.
    Cut you a wedge or break you off a chunk. Pour up a tall glass of cold sweet milk or fat free buttermilk. Maybe a little pile of salt and some spring onions, radishes, cucumber slices or tommytoes on the side (any or all the above.) How about a little puddle of ranch dressing summers on the plate? Just a dab to dip in.
    Now that’s Heavenly!

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    June 24, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    Do not serve me any cornbread with even a grain of sugar in it….Don’t like it, won’t eat it, not traditionally southern and no mountain raised true Appalachian would touch it either….At least that is what I’ve found to be true! Guess I could be dead wrong…it happens…but sugar in cornbread is a Northern thang! I just want sugar in my cake…ha
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    June 24, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    I’ve not had cornbread and milk, but I love cornbread and I love milk, so maybe the next time I make cornbread I’ll try it. And I think we need to hear more about Mr Ed Ammon’s recipe, please, because that sure sounds worth the extra effort!

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    June 24, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    Love cornbread and milk…but we drink skim milk here….No buttermilk for me! However, I make my cornbread with buttermilk.
    I do declare that my Mother would make extra large pans of cornbread just so she could enjoy her leftover cornbread and buttermilk…As I have told before she loved fresh cracked black walnuts mixed in with hers…She was raised on Black Walnuts in just about everything…Evidently all that butter, homemade spring cold buttermilk, cornbread and black walnuts didn’t hurt her health…she passed from something else besides heart disease at age 93….
    Thanks Tipper,
    We had a few barrels of rain this morning…did you all get much rain? We’ve definitely got beans to pick this afternoon if it dries out some! Another excuse to make a skillet of cornbread!

  • Reply
    Richard Beauchamp
    June 24, 2017 at 2:26 pm

    I ate a lot of cornbread and milk for my supers growing up and still eat it often. It is good as any supper I ever had !!

  • Reply
    June 24, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    Sometimes a couple bowlfuls of sweet milk and cornbread hits the spot. I like buttermilk too but it’s too expensive, especially the good kind, Mayfields. When I was little, you could get a gallon of Cobel Buttermilk for .65 cents, now it’s over $8.00. Times sure do change! …Ken

  • Reply
    Carl Mullin
    June 24, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    Around here in the mountains of Southwest Va. it has always been Breakfast – Dinner & Supper- All in that order and still holds on tell today!!!

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    June 24, 2017 at 10:26 am

    It’s the perfect supper! I’ve eaten that occasionally all my life. Sometimes Mama made hotcakes for supper, and I always thought that was super-wonderful. I know several older ladies who always have “a bowl of cereal” for supper. Doesn’t sound good to me, but then except for Sunday dinner at noon, I have my main meal in the evening and call it supper. But now and then, I “go out for dinner” in the evening. How people use the words dinner and supper has always been interesting to me. As for Ron Banks’s brother-in-law’s fried potatoes in his cornbread and milk, I agree totally with Ron — sounds awful. But I knew a guy in Texas who always put potato chips in his sandwiches. He said it is delicious, but I’ll just take his word for it!

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    June 24, 2017 at 10:14 am

    After Mama passed away my younger brother really missed her cooking as we all have. I live across the state from him and when he last visited he asked me to make him a big skillet of cornbread to take home so he could have cornbread & milk.
    I love leftovers for a snack at night–cornbread with a sliced onion and tomato is one of my favorites!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 24, 2017 at 10:00 am

    I’ve heard that about 3000 times. If you count the times I’ve said it, it would be 7000. They say “you are what you eat.” If that is true then I am cornbread and milk.
    I recently started making cornbread from scratch using yellow cornmeal. Yes, sifting the meal, flour, salt, sodie and baking powder together. No more cornmeal mix here anymore. There is a world of difference in my opinion. I made some the other day that was better than my mommy made. That’s hard to say but it’s true.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    June 24, 2017 at 9:36 am

    Sounds like home folks to me.

  • Reply
    June 24, 2017 at 9:33 am

    When Mom had an exceptionally busy day, she would serve milk and bread for supper. That tickled us kids in more ways than one. It meant fewer dishes to wash and a break from beans and taters. Sweet milk was never bought at the store and it was only when we owned a cow that we had milk. My favorite was buttermilk and cornbread. I had milk and bread one day this week. The buttermilk available today doesn’t taste a thing like the milk I remember from my childhood.

  • Reply
    H Lee Mears
    June 24, 2017 at 9:26 am

    I love cornbread in milk. Usually as a snack and eat it that way until it’s all gone. I love butter milk but prefer to drink it ‘straight’.
    Doctors don’t really recommend all that cornmeal now and heaven forbid you have a biscuit!
    I have a gallon homemade vegetable soup thawing, supper for when my son arrives today from Atl. Going to make some yellow meal cornbread too but won’t be telling the doctor at Monday’s visit.

  • Reply
    June 24, 2017 at 9:02 am

    I like cornbread hot out of the oven with butter and molasses on it. Most people up north here in Canada, call it Johnny cake. Have you folks down in the south, heard it called that? Regardless of what they call it, it tastes yummy for any meal time.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    June 24, 2017 at 8:54 am

    Great idea! I love cornbread and milk. When we have cornbread with dinner, my wife knows what I am going to have for dessert!

  • Reply
    June 24, 2017 at 8:20 am

    When I was a child and Dad was farming, every meal was a hearty one – breakfast. lunch, and supper; however, the Sunday noon meal was formal and that was “dinner”; also, if special guests were invited to dine in the evenings, that also was referred to as dinner; family and friends just came over for “supper”. – – but I digress – –
    When Mom and Dad sold the farm, they moved closer to my sister and I. For another 15 or so years Dad continued to find things to do which required a lot of effort and sweat so all their meals were still “full meals”; but as their age demanded their attention, meals become lighter, especially the evening meal and soon their phone conversations referred to evening suppers of “cornbread and milk” and the like.

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    June 24, 2017 at 8:19 am

    I have had cornbread and milk for supper more than a few times. I love it and grew up in a home where it was as common as a pb&j sandwich. I’ve never been able to get my wife to try it because “she ain’t from around here” but my two boys love it. If I want to get fancy I’ll mix half butter milk with half sweet milk and salt and pepper with it.
    I have tried putting fried potatoes in it as my brother in law does but I didn’t care for it that way.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    June 24, 2017 at 6:24 am

    It’s been a very long time since I’ve heard that! I never liked cornbread and milk but my parents and grandparents did. My mother and my sister both would eat cornbread crumbled up in Campbell’s Cream of Chicken Soup but I was a picky little thing and wouldn’t touch it.

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