Other than buttermilk biscuits and red-eye gravy, country ham’s best companion is a corn cake. Known throughout the Mid-South simply as cornbread, it is a batter-based circle of steamy starchiness that is griddle-cooked just like a morning pancake. It comes on the side of many meat-and-three meals and serves as a wonderful sop for pushing through gravy of any kind. Most Southern cooks use White Lily self-rising flour and self-rising corn meal; but if you can’t get them, it’s almost as easy to use baking powder and soda, as follows. This recipe makes 8-10 cakes.
1 cup white cornmeal
1 cup white flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons corn oil
butter for frying
Mix together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt.
In a separate bowl, add the baking soda to the buttermilk, then beat in the eggs, sugar, and corn oil.
Melt a couple of tablespoons of butter in a heavy skillet over medium high heat.
Combine the wet and dry ingredients, but do not overbeat.
Pour the batter into the hot skillet, using about 1/3 cup to make cakes four inches in diameter.
Cook each cake until it is light brown on its underside, 1 – 2 minutes, then flip and cook it a half minute more.
Add butter to the skillet as you cook more cakes.
Serve them immediately with a pat of butter for each.