When I was two years old my mom sent my sister and I to a babysitter by the name of Regina Smith. She was a feisty lady at the time, probably in her middle to late forties and an army wife. She'd seen a lot in her lifetime and let me tell you, this woman was HARDCORE! If you weren't potty trained your first day there, you would be by the end of the week (ahem....). If you were a picky eater, you weren't when she got done with you. And if you weren't afraid of wooden spoons before you met her, you would be by the end of the week.
But we loved this woman dearly. Climbing the steps of her San Francisco Victorian, smelling the chicken she had boiling away on the stove to make broth for her delicious chicken and rice soup, hearing the raucous of all the other kids who had been dropped off earlier, you couldn't help but get excited. Her house was warm, inviting, and as we got older, a comforting place to escape the busyness of life. In fact, after all these years, I remember distinctly the smell of her chicken and rice soup. I know she prepared other delicious foods for us to devour at lunch time, but her soup is the only thing that I can seem to remember (but cannot re-create). We ate from vintage enamelware kinda like this and crushed cornbread and Ritz crackers into our soup, all the time arguing about who Gina "belonged" to. I'm sure this was hilarious and heartwarming to her at the time, but we were serious back then!
So I don't have to explain that when she gave my mom this recipe for World's Greatest Cornbread, we knew it would be delicious! Gina was a genius in the kitchen, and although she is no longer living she remains in our hearts--one moist and buttery bite of cornbread at a time.
World's Greatest Cornbread by My Gina
2 Cups **Bisquick
1 Cup Yellow Cornmeal (purchase organic if you can)
3/4 Cup granulated sugar
2 Sticks of butter plus another 4 tablespoons
1/2 Teaspoon baking soda
1/2 Teaspoon of salt
1 Cup half and half
2 Eggs-slightly beaten
Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Add four tablespoons of butter to your pan (preferably a well-seasoned cast iron skillet) and place in the oven. Remove from oven once the butter is browned and smells nutty.
Measure dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Scald half and half with 2 sticks of butter and add to dry ingredients. Stir until combined. Mix in eggs and pour into your buttered pan. Bake for thirty to forty minutes or until done.
*I recently started browning the butter because you know what? Browned butter is good! If you don't like browned butter just heat it to melting and call it a day, I'll never know.
**Cut out the big yellow box and make your own Bisquick!
Here is my less than perfect attempt to show you the process. Do you see all that buttery goodness sitting atop the uncooked cornbread? I'm pretty sure I look like this when I'm done eating but who really cares?