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True Southern Cornbread in Arkansas

Alpena, Michigan

Story Narrative:

"Because of my Southern heritage--the way they fried chicken and the way they made cornbread. And, the cornbread does not have sugar in it. True Southern cornbread from Arkansas, the batter is usually made with buttermilk, and they thin the batter down. You always put a hot iron skillet in the oven and you turn it up to at least 400 degrees, or in my Aunt's case she had a little stove that she cooked with and she used bacon grease, of course, and it had to be sizzling, and when it sizzled then you pour that into the cornbread batter and that gave a richness to the cornbread batter and it had to be thin like pancake mix and it made very light and fluffy cornbread, so when people say this is really good and it's sweet, true Southern cornbread didn't have any sugar in at all. So, that's one of the things.

And then, frying chicken again you have to have a very hot frying pan with plenty of oil and you dust it with flour . . . Dust it with flour and fry it very hot, not burning but very hot . . ."

This story was collected in conjunction with the Museum on Main Street program at the Smithsonian Institution. It is part of the "Be Here: Main Street" collection, intended to capture Americans' stories about their neighborhoods, waterways, towns, traditions, and personal experiences.

Asset ID #7118

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