Cornbread: Sweet and Fluffy or Hot and Salty?

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The barbecue invitation requested that guests bring along something to go with the roast pig. It was a pretty discerning crowd, and one that appreciates the unusual and traditional, so corn light bread seemed like the likeliest choice.

This bread isn't like skillet cornbread, savory and cut into wedges. It's baked in a loaf pan, and is lighter in texture, more like cake, with a sweet taste from a couple of tablespoons of sugar, or sometimes sorghum. It's called corn light bred because for Southerns "bread" meant cornbread, and every kind of wheat bread baked in a loaf was called "light bread" until well into the last century. This one was raised with yeast (sometimes) like loaf bread and baked in a loaf pan like loaf bread, but made with cornmeal. Hence "corn light bread." The One Stop in Franklin has served it with barbecue for decades.

Yep, indigenous, authentic and good with barbecue. I turned to my darling cookbooks for a corn light bread recipe. My precious 300 cookbooks, including a whole shelf of Southern cookbooks. Flipping through them is inspiring and intriguing, like a visit to a museum, especially the older Southern cookbooks. That's where I expected to find the recipe.

What happened was exactly zero. Nada. Nuttin'. Not a single recipe for corn light bread. It's so weird I don't even have an explanation for it. I got Paula Deen's recipe from someone on recipezaar, but I'm telling you, it nearly broke my heart.

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