Overall, I am not a fan of superfluous and superlative recipe titles. I hate the word “zesty”, I think it’s bold to claim your own recipe is “perfect” or “the best”, and I don’t know who your Memaw is so I don’t know if I can trust that her coleslaw is the best (and it’s not, this coleslaw is the best).

That said, this cornbread is pretty much perfect and is allegedly attributed to Waylon Jennings, but in our family it’s just “the cornbread recipe” because it’s so good there is only need for one. There are no bells and whistles, though certainly you can add some extras if you’re so inclined. It’s not overly sweet, but Jay has requested it as a birthday cake more than once. I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t like this cornbread, and I’m finally putting it up here so I don’t have to text a terrible photo of an old cookbook of my mom’s with a bunch of handwritten notes to people whenever they ask for the recipe. Heating the oil in the cast iron skillet while the oven is preheating makes a superb crispy crust, a step that you should not skip.


makes enough to serve about 8

2 cups buttermilk

2 eggs

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 cup cornmeal

1 cup flour

1 TBSP baking powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter

olive or vegetable oil

Pour enough oil in a 10-inch cast iron skillet to cover the bottom of the skillet and place the oiled skillet in oven while it preheats to 425.

Whisk the eggs, buttermilk, and sugar together in a small bowl or glass measuring cup. In a large bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir together until blended and smooth. Melt the butter and gently stir it into the batter.

Using an oven mitt (from experience), remove the hot skillet from the oven and carefully pour the batter in. This will make a satisfying sizzling sound, and some of the oil might displace and move to the top of the cornbread, but it’s ok. Return the skillet to the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, until the top starts to turn golden brown. Invert the cornbread after about 5 minutes and serve it warm with a little butter.

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