“(Momma) always gave a few crispy pieces of the skin to her grandbabies and to Uncle Willie, but most of the cracklings were saved for her great beef stew or until she cooked and served a large pot of collard greens. Then she’d bring out a giant pan of corn bread filled with cracklings. . . . I preferred Momma’s crackling corn bread over other people’s Sunday cake.”
From Hallelujah! The Welcome Table by Maya Angelou
Food is an important element in Maya Angelou’s memoirs, so I shouldn’t be surprised that she wrote a cookbook, Hallelujah! The Welcome Table. I read Hallelujah! The Welcome Table cover to cover like one of her memoirs. Angelo prefaced each recipe with a story about what that food meant to her. I was drawn to a recipe that she ate as a child: Crackling Corn Bread.
Crackling Corn Bread
What You Need
- 2 cups white cornmeal
- ¼ cup sifted all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 ½ cups plus 2 tablespoons milk
- 2 large eggs, beaten well
- 2 tablespoons (¼ stick) butter, melted
- ½ pound crisp cracklings, broken into ½-inch pieces
You can find the instructions for making the bread in Hallelujah! The Welcome Table on page 27.
I knew that this cornbread would not be very sweet, because there was only one tablespoon of sugar. What I was not prepared for was the texture of the bread. The crisp cracklings turned chewy, and the texture was a little off-putting. I appreciate that crackling corn bread is near and dear to Maya’s heart, but it’s not a bread that I’ll make again.
Reviewed by Heather