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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Cornbread and Milk

My leftover New Year’s Day dinner is to thank for this food nostalgia post. Again this year, I made bean soup — cooked until it was really thick and full of ham chunks (16 bean soup this year) and cornbread. While the bean soup was tasty, it was the cornbread I was thinking about as we shared our meal with my mother-in-law Diane.

I was already seeing the slightly sweet, crumbly cornbread in a glass with ice-cold sweet milk poured over it. I grew up seeing my dad eat his cornbread just like that. He said his parents would eat it with buttermilk, but he ate it with regular whole milk; that’s what sweet milk was called on the farm. Diane recalls memories of her grandparents enjoying leftover cornbread just the same way. If you haven’t tried it, I think you should!

While made-from-scratch iron skillet cornbread is best, any cornbread from a box can be a tasty snack in a glass of milk — pure comfort food. I have heard this concoction called Cowboy Milk before.

If we had no cornbread in the house (I presume), my father enjoyed saltines in milk, a treat that likely was a holdover from the Great Depression. Along the same vein, my mother made a warm, sweet, buttery bedtime snack for us from white rice left over from dinner: pour whole milk over warm rice, stir in sugar, and top with a small pat of butter. Or, you can put it all back in a pan and warm it up — best enjoyed in your pajamas or a flannel robe.

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