Friday, September 17, 2010

It's Spoonbread Festival Weekend!

A photo of our boys enjoying spoonbread at Boone Tavern Hotel.

This is the weekend of the annual Berea Chamber of Commerce Spoonbread Festival. 

Boone Tavern Hotel, in Berea, Kentucky, has long been famous for its spoonbread. Richard Hougen, Boone Tavern Hotel manager for many years, collected some of the best regions best recipes, including spoonbread. Most people agree, that you cannot find a better recipe for spoonbread than the one used at Boone Tavern.
Spoonbread is the richest, lightest, and most delicious of all corn meal breads. The basic ingredients in spoonbread are very much the same from one recipe to another, the major difference being that about half of the recipes call for baking powder and / or sugar while the rest use neither.
Most old-time Southerners did not use sugar in their spoonbread or any corn bread recipes. Perish the thought! In Appalachian Mountains it was unheard of to put sugar in corn bread. But sugar began to appear in more modern variations of spoonbread --Yankee pressure and influence, perhaps!
In his book, Southern Food, John Egerton stated that spoonbread probably originated in Virginia, around 1824. Other authorities maintain that spoonbread can be traced back to the Indian porridge called suppone or suppawn, and therefore consider that to be the true ancestral source of spoonbread. Others say that the butter, milk, and eggs, which made spoonbread such a special dish, probably came after the Civil War. John R. Mariani, in The Dictionary of American Food and Drink, says the term was not used in print until 1906.
Corn, was often called the backbone of Appalachian cooking, is as important to Appalachia as rice is to the Chinese. The best cornbread is made from freshly water-ground meal. Corn meal has been used over the last century to make a corn pone, crackling bread, corn muffins, corn sticks, hoecakes, Johnny cakes, and spoonbread. Spoonbread is one of the old recipes that's still popular today.
History of Spoonbread provided by Sidney Saylor Farr, author of Spoonbread Cookbook.  For information about how to purchase her recipe book, go to the Spoonbread Festival Website.

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