TWD: We’re breakin’ out the jalapenos!

***Pictures still screwy.  Camera still broken.  Sigh.

This week we had a nice change of pace…savory corn and pepper muffins chosen by Rebecca of Ezra Poundcake.  Butter, flour and eggs were present but, nonetheless, not our usual fare.

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Cornbread is one of those wonderful rarities in American life where regional differences still matter.  Well, in this case as is true with so many of these endless debates, it still matters to one side.  Most non-southerners I know prefer the sweeter version of cornbread but, frankly, don’t give it much thought.  Put one grain too many of sugar into the mix, however, and southerners cry heresy.   What you have just popped into the oven is cake or some other bastardized creation but is most decidedly not cornbread.  Hmmph.

And you know what?  This is great!  While I personally don’t care, I grew up on Jiffy and only discovered as an adult that cornbread was something that could be made from scratch.  I do appreciate that the differences still matter to some.   I feel like I grew up at the intersection of chain stores and local flavor.  We definitely had McDonalds and the Gap but you didn’t have to try hard to find local stores or restaurants either.  If your bank had three branches it was a power house and your bookstore did not have multiple floors.  When you went on vacation or visited relatives, those places looked different and had funky store names that didn’t sound real (Piggly Wiggly was ultimately mockable to a “too cool for school” preteen). 

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Now, I dare you to be dropped in south Overland Park (suburb of KC), west Plano or north Scottsdale and tell me where you landed.  It seems the vegetation is only the clue (no palm trees here…yet).  While I could probably take a staycation in Barnes and Noble, I am somewhat nostalgic for when everything didn’t look quite so similar. 

So, to all you people out there who let your blood boil over thin crust v. deep dish, who cringe every time someone says they are “barbecuing” in their backyard (that is grilling, people), and who run for cover at the sight of a bean in their chili, I say keep on keepin’ on!  You make this world a better place.

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“the pepper is making my hair stand up!” (kidding, we all know he didn’t actually eat one…)

Oh?  Was I supposed to be discussing Dorie’s recipe.  Well, it would offend a southern purist but it didn’t quite rise to the level of sacrilege in Ina’s recipe (she probably should just concede that is cake).   I grew up in Kansas so I am free to love all the pepper additions (jalapeno, red pepper, chili powder and black pepper!) without spitting on my roots.  I bet these would be good with a little cheese thrown in (but don’t tell my mother-in-law).  I served these with two bean soup (not quite chili…).  They smelled really good but I thought they could have been slightly moister.  I usually use more than one egg yolk so that may be difference.

For other muffins click hereEzra Poundcake has the full recipe.

Next week:  Berry Surprise Cake.  I read through the directions last night.  I am a little intimidated…

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12 responses to “TWD: We’re breakin’ out the jalapenos!

  1. I love that picture of your son. Cute! Your muffins look good.

  2. I must admit, I cry heresy about deep dish. And cheese. And cornbread, but I’m a northern cornbread kind of gal.

  3. Wow – I’ve read some pretty strong words today about cornbread. I grew up in So. Cal, where cornbread was served at Mexican restaurants as a side dish.

    See, this is why I made a chocolate tart instead. No controversy, just chocolate.

  4. I am a bit intimidated by next week’s recipe as well. But I am up for the challenge. Your muffins look great!

  5. Oh boy – I haven’t looked at the recipe for next week yet, but if you gals are intimidated I’m sure I will be. The muffins were a nice easy change from all the desserts at the holidays weren’t they? Yours look great.

  6. My boy has THE EXACT SAME HAIRDO as your son! I was not aware of the hot debate surrounding cornbread until this recipe came up in the rotation. Like you, I don’t think much about it. I actually like it both sweet and savory and never knew that I was supposed choose. I am working on developing passionate feelings about it one way or the other. Your cornbread looks great! Maybe the corniest corn muffins are moister?

  7. With bakers from all over the world participating in TWD, it is so interesting to see the cultural differences from one baker to the next, especially with recipes like cornbread where there are clear regional preferences. I thought these were great, but I am not firmly seated in any specific cornbread camp.

  8. your batter probably looks different because I added some cream corn to mine and a little extra on the buttermilk. I thought the batter was too thick and was going to be dry so I was trying to moisten it up!! Good job on yours.

  9. Thanks for your observations about regional differences. I agree 100% – we have to hang on to our differences (while accepting others’ of course)

    I’ve lived both north and south and eat cornbread any way that it’s served to me. I don’t like any of my food too sweet though – won’t buy salad dressing or spaghetti sauce with sugar in it, I can taste it a mile away. And I don’t like sweet with my savory very much. So that’s why I preferred these with less sugar. I think I inadvertently stirred the pot with my comment in the p&q – I threw in that northern/southern observation as an afterthought!

  10. I’m so glad I’m not the only who is a little scared of the berry cake for next week! I feel like I should get started NOW! Great post and good job on the muffins. Love the pic of your son!

  11. LOL, honestly, I didn’t know there were so many opinions. I just thought all cornbread was the same.

    Thanks for helping the uninitiated!

  12. Love your photos of your son. I’m a west coaster who wasn’t exposed to the north versus south cornbread debate. Yours look good.

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