Pop’s Cornbread (secret family recipe…)

Watch my grandfather teach you how to make his family famous cornbread!

As I have said before, I am very family oriented and am very grateful to have all of my grandparents healthy and happy in their early to mid 80s.  I want to make videos with them to share family recipes not only for the purposes of Chef Stef, but for posterity. I know that one day in the future I will be so happy I made these.  You should do the same!  If you don’t have a video camera, use your phone!  Or, you can buy a little flip video camera on ebay for $30. (They discontinued, but only because phones have good quality videos now so they lost popularity.  But flip videos are actually great cameras. I use a flip for all of my videos!  They are extremely user friendly, point and shoot cameras and it probably weighs half a pound.  You should get one now while they’re so cheap before they’re gone!)

The next issue was, which of the 4 grandparents is going to do it first?  Since it was my birthday on the 18th, I convinced my grandparents who live in Long Island to come the night before.  I kept telling Pop that I wanted him to make me cornbread for my birthday. I subtly mentioned to him that we may make a video. It’s the idea of doing it that stresses him out.  He is 86, afterall. I knew if I had everything set up and pressed record, he would do it.  And he did. He ate that camera up. Some of that he did all on his own.  I started to put his girly apron on to match me and he didn’t object in the least. He’s the original ham.  I got some of my spunk from him. And as you can see by the outtakes, we had a blast doing it.  We laughed the entire morning!  My grandma was there too, in the peanut gallery, cracking up behind the camera. Mom was filming.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to work the camera like I usually do and concentrate on Pop! And she did a great job. (Thanks, mom!)

It really is a very simple recipe.  If you like spicy, my grandfather sometimes dices up a few jalepenos and throws them in the batter!

Here’s your grocery list:

2 cups of flour

1 cup yellow cornmeal (I didn’t mention this in the video because Pop didn’t realize until after, that he usually mixes half cup of course cornmeal and half cup of regular.  It gives it a bit more texture.  But course cornmeal is sometimes difficult to find, so regular works just as well.)

3/4 cup of sugar

2 tablespoons of butter (1 for the recipe, 1 to coat the pan so it doesn’t stick!)

2 eggs

3/4 teaspoon of salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 1/2 cups of milk


Set your oven to 425°

In one bowl, beat the 2 eggs and add the sugar. Set aside.

In another bowl, mix all of your dry ingredients. Sift the flour, add the cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Now mix in your milk and melted 1 tablespoon of butter. It’s going to be a bit dry, so don’t worry, that’s correct.

Now, add the egg and sugar mixture. You can see what the consistency should look like of all the ingredients mixed together at 2:32.

At 2:37, we have no idea what Pop was singing…and neither does he! He started singing this random Italian song that we’ve never heard him sing before. We asked what it was and he said he had no idea.  It’s amazing that he sometimes seems like he’s losing his memory, and yet, he will pull a song out of nowhere that he probably hasn’t heard since the 1940s. Crazy.

Take your loaf pan and put the other tablespoon of butter in it.  You can put the pan in the oven to melt the butter, or just melt it the usual way you melt butter.  The goal is to coat the loaf pan so it doesn’t stick!  Taking any cake out of any pan is always scary because if it cracks in half because it’s stuck… well, it’ll taste good but it won’t look very fancy! So always over butter.  A little extra butter in this one instance won’t kill you!

Put your batter in the pan and place in the oven for about 30-40 minutes.  Turn the pan around 20 minutes in.  It may look burned on top, but it’s really okay.  Everyone’s ovens are different.  Ours came out a little darker on the top than it does when it bakes in Pop’s oven.  It didn’t taste any different though.  It was the thinnest layer at the top that was very brown. Around 30 minutes, take it out and stick a toothpick in.  In Pop’s oven it takes 30 minutes, in my oven it took 42 minutes until the toothpick came out clean.  Keep an eye on it!  Be sure to stick the toothpick in the middle, the thickest part, not the ends.

Pop wanted to share with you all where he got the recipe at 3:19.  I didn’t tell him to do that! He said, “Can I tell them where I got it?” The Durgin Park restaurant he’s talking about still exists in a very famous, touristy part of downtown Boston called Faneuil Hall.  I think it’s been around since the 1800s.  Isn’t it funny that back in the day, in the 1940s, my grandfather said, “Your cornbread is great, can I have the recipe?” and they handed it over? I triple dog dare you to ask any restaurant for a recipe now without getting laughed at! Every restaurant is super secretive now. I have one good guess as to why that is.  Because most restaurants no longer use all the real ingredients because it’s expensive. They look for cheaper shortcuts, for fillers. For example, when someone in my family told a waitress that she couldn’t have the bun on her burger for gluten reasons, the waitress proceeded to tell us, “well there is oatmeal IN our burgers…”  AKA, they use oats as a filler because meat is expensive. And wait… oats in a burger??  1. Who would have thought and 2. Ew?

Start cooking more and eating out less!  At least if you make your own food… you’ll know what’s in it…

Once your cornbread is done, it can be eaten warm or cold, with or without butter. If there is any leftover, store it in tin foil in a drawer or fridge if you plan on keeping it for a few days.

IMG_6612 YUM!

This picture below was taken of Pop and my dad on my birthday in 2011.  Everyone bought me aprons because I was getting serious about starting Chef Stef!  Then life happened, and it took another 2 years to finally get it going.

IMG_0937 Real men wear aprons.

And that’s it! The outtakes are all entertaining, so watch the video til the end if you need a laugh!

Stay tuned for more episodes with my other 3 grandparents! It’s going to take a bit more convincing for them.  But, I’m so sneaky, my plan worked!  I knew if I got just one of them to do it, the rest would get jealous.  They did.  So now they’re all talking about what they’re going to make on my show.  Teeheeheeeee!

Have a FABULOUS, beautiful Fall weekend!

Chef Stef


4 thoughts on “Pop’s Cornbread (secret family recipe…)

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