Truman Capote’s Family’s Cornbread


From The Cornbread Gospels by Crescent Dragonwagon

Everything about this straight-up cornbread—not sweet, not fancy but for its two eggs—points to it being an early creation, not far from sustenance. For that, maybe because of that, it has a purity that is hard to beat, as well as a winning, light texture.

1 tablespoon butter or bacon drippings
2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups stone-ground white cornmeal

1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Place the butter or drippings in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, and place it in the oven.

2. Comine the eggs and buttermilk in a small bowl or measuring cup, whisking together well with a fork.

3. In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, salt, baking soda, and cornmeal, stirring well to combine.

4. Stir the egg mixture into the dry ingredients, beating just until the dry ingredients are moistened, no more.

5. Pull the skillet from the oven. It should be good and hot, with the fat sizzling. Swirl the pan to coat it. Quickly transfer the batter to the hot skillet and return the skillet to the oven.

6. Bake until browned and pulling away from the skillet, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve, hot, in wedges from the pan.

Makes 8 servings.