Sunday, September 30, 2012

In Praise Of Spoonbread

Kentucky is more than just bourbon and although it shares its whiskeys with the world, some treats it keeps to itself; like Kentucky country ham, the hot brown, benedictine, and spoonbread.

A variation on cornbread, spoonbread lies somewhere between quick bread and pudding. It bears slight resemblance to Britain’s famous Yorkshire pudding.

The Boone Tavern, in Berea, Kentucky, has been famous for its spoonbread for more than 60 years. They cook it in cast iron skillets and serve it directly from the skillet at table side. Saveur Magazine describes it as “a creamy-centered corn bread pudding that rises like a soufflĂ©.” Their recipe is rich with eggs, milk and butter. Authentically Southern it contains no wheat flour, just finely ground white cornmeal.

One would be right to be skeptical of a just-add-water spoonbread mix, such as the one sold by Weisenberger Mill, Kentucky’s oldest commercial mill, located in Midway. Although no threat to the Boone Tavern’s kitchen, it’s a tasty break from regular cornbread, simple and quick to make, and available on-line.

Midway, by the way, is a good place to include on your Kentucky itinerary. It’s midway between Frankfort and Lexington, surrounded by horse farms, and the nicely kept downtown straddles a railroad track. Because Kentuckians really don’t care for cities, a town like Midway gives you a better feel for modern Kentucky than do any of its larger towns. It is a comfortable community with several nice bars and restaurants.

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