Cornbread is a fast bread prepared with cornmeal that is associated with Southern American cuisine and has Native American origins. The Hopi tribe of Arizona ate finely crushed cornmeal dumplings and pancakes as a staple cuisine. Baked cornbread was known as naktsi by the Hidatsa people of the Upper Midwest. The Cherokee and Seneca tribes supplemented the basic batter by adding chestnuts, sunflower seeds, apples, or berries, and blending beans or potatoes with the cornmeal in certain cases. Baking powder is commonly used to leaven modern cornbreads.
Before Europeans came to the New World, Native Americans had been eating ground corn (maize) for thousands of years.  European immigrants, particularly those in the English Southern Colonies, learned the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Creek’s original recipes and procedures for maize meals, and quickly invented techniques for employing cornmeal in bread comparable to those prepared with grains accessible in Europe. Cornbread has been dubbed a “cornerstone” of Southern cuisine.  Cornmeal is made by crushing dry, uncooked maize kernels. Grits are a coarser kind of flour derived from maize. Grits are made by soaking raw maize grains in hot water with calcium hydroxide (an alkaline salt), which loosens the grain hulls (bran) and boosts the product’s nutritious content (by increasing available niacin and available amino acids). Washing and flotation in water separate them, and the softened, somewhat swollen grains are known as hominy. Hominy, also known as pozole in Mexican Spanish, is mashed into masa harina, which is used to make arepas, tamales, and tortillas. Nixtamalization is the name given to this ancient Native American technique. Corn was utilized by Native Americans to produce a variety of foods, from hominy grits to alcoholic drinks, in addition to cornbread (such as Andean chicha). Cornbread was popular during the American Civil War because it was inexpensive and could be produced in a variety of ways, including high-rising, fluffy loaves or simply fried cornbread (as unleavened pone, corn fritters, hoecakes, etc.).
Types of cornbread
Cornbread is a famous Southern dish that many people appreciate for its texture and fragrance. Cornbread can be baked, fried, or steamed (very seldom). Steamed cornbread is mushier, chewier, and more akin to cornmeal pudding than most people think of when they think of cornbread. Cornbread may be made into corn cakes by baking it.
Cornbread is a common bread in American cuisine, especially in the South and Southwest, as well as a traditional mainstay for those living in areas where wheat flour was more expensive. Cornbread can be eaten for breakfast, especially leftovers. It’s also a popular accompaniment to barbeque and chili con carne. Cornbread with pinto beans has long been a popular lunch option in portions of the southern and southwestern United States. It’s still a popular side dish for many suppers, especially when accompanied by butter. Cornbread crumbs are also used in various chicken stuffings, sometimes known as dressings; cornbread stuffing is especially connected with Thanksgiving turkeys.
Northern and southern cornbread differ in the United States because they utilize various types of cornmeal and different amounts of sugar and eggs. Southern cornbread has typically been cooked with less sugar and less flour (or no flour), whereas northern cornbread has generally been sweeter and more cake-like. White cornmeal and buttermilk were traditionally used in Southern cornbread. Other components, such as pig rinds, may be added on occasion. Cornbread is crumbled and served with cold milk or clabber (buttermilk) in the same way as cold cereal is served. Mexican influence has resulted in a robust cornbread baked with fresh or creamed corn kernels, jalapeno peppers, and shredded cheese in Texas. In the southern United States, This bread is served with molasses, while in the northern United States, it is served with butter and honey.
Skillet-fried or skillet-baked cornbread (often referred to as cornbread or skillet bread) is a staple in rural America, particularly in the South. In a heavy, well-seasoned cast-iron pan in the oven, heat bacon drippings, lard, or other oil, and then pour a batter consisting of cornmeal, egg, and milk straight into the hot fat. The batter is baked again producing a big, crumbly, and occasionally extremely moist cake with a crispy crust. This bread is thick and is normally served as an accompaniment rather than the main entrée. Cornbread can also be produced as sticks, muffins, or loaves, in addition to the skillet approach.
A somewhat different variation is associated with northern American cuisine and is baked in a basic baking dish. Northern-style cornbread batter is extremely similar to and occasionally interchangeable with, corn muffin batter. Half wheat flour, half cornmeal, milk or buttermilk, eggs, leavening agent, salt, and frequently sugar are used in a typical contemporary northern US cornbread recipe, resulting in a bread that is lighter and sweeter than the original southern version.
Unlike fried cornbread, baked cornbread is a fast bread whose structure is supported by an egg-based protein matrix (though the addition of wheat flour adds gluten to increase its cohesiveness). The baking process gelatinizes the starch in cornmeal, but some hard starch is sometimes left behind, giving the finished product a characteristic sandiness not found in other grains.
Cornbread with pig cracklings within is a traditional Southern meal. It may be made in any technique, but the most usual is in a skillet since it allows the bread to crisp up more.
Corn pone (also known as “Indian pone”) is a type of cornbread made from a thick, malleable cornmeal dough (which is usually egg- and milk-free) and cooked in a specific type of iron pan over an open fire (such as a frontiersman would use), primarily with bacon grease, but also with butter, margarine, shortening, or cooking oil. Corn pies are a mainstay of Southern American cuisine, and numerous American writers, including Mark Twain, have written about or mentioned them.
Cornbread baked in a round iron skillet or a cake pan of any shape is still referred to as a “pone” of cornbread in the Appalachian Mountains (as opposed to “hoecakes,” the term for cornbread fried in the pancake style); and biscuit dough (i.e., “biscuits” in the American sense) is occasionally baked in one large cake rather than as separate biscuits, it is referred to as a “biscuit pone.”
The phrase “corn pone” is frequently used pejoratively to refer to someone with certain rustic, unsophisticated quirks (“he’s a corn pone”), or as an adjective to indicate certain rural, folksy, or “hick” features (“he’s a corn pone”) (e.g., “corn pone” humor). This derogatory epithet is frequently applied to people from rural areas in the United States South and Midwest. General Jubilation T Cornpone, a fictional Civil War general from Dogpatch notorious for his retreats and alleged cowardice, was a character in the Lil’ Abner comic strip. The workers of President John F. Kennedy, largely Northeastern Ivy League elites, publicly derided Texan Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson’s rural speech patterns, calling Johnson “Uncle Cornpone” or “Rufus Cornpone” behind his back.
Hot water cornbread
One frying method involves pouring a small amount of liquid batter made with boiling water and self-rising cornmeal (cornmeal with soda or another chemical leavener added) into a skillet of hot oil, allowing the crust to turn golden and crunchy while the center of the batter cooks into a crumbly, mushy bread. These soft, delicious fried loaves have a diameter of 3 to 4 inches. A tiny amount of wheat flour is sometimes added to the batter to guarantee the bread’s consistency. This form of bread is peculiar to the American South and is known as “hot water” or “scald meal” cornbread.
A johnnycake is a pancake-like bread made by pouring a batter similar to skillet-fried cornbread, but somewhat thinner, into hot grease over a griddle or a skillet. This variety of cornbread is popular in New England, notably Rhode Island, as well as the Midwest and the South of the United States. It reminds me of the name “hoecake,” which is used in the American South to describe fried cornmeal pancakes and may have originated from legends of folks on the frontier preparing cornbread patties with a hoe blade.
The hushpuppy, a traditional addition to fried fish and other seafood in the South, is made from a thicker buttermilk-based batter that is deep-fried rather than pan-fried. Recipes for hush puppies vary by state, but some include onion spice, chopped onions, beer, or jalapenos. The inside of a properly fried hushpuppy will be juicy and yellow or white, while the outside will be crispy and light to a medium-dark golden brown.