When I was growing up, Saturday mornings were always corncakes. Mom would make a mixture which is similar to cornbread, but wetter and make cornmeal pancakes. My grandmother lived in Santa Barbara, California. She had a gigantic lemon tree in her backyard. Every so often she would send us a box of fresh lemons. She would include fresh figs from her fig tree to if they were in season. The lemons were always a treat because, at the time, they were very expensive to buy in the local grocery.
We would eat corncakes a little larger than silver dollars with butter, white sugar sprinkled generously, and lemon juice squeezed from fresh halves of lemons over the top. This was a real treat for us. I don’t think we had ever tried maple syrup. It just wasn’t something in our cupboards. I don’t know where we got this idea, but the butter, sugar and lemon must have been reminiscent of lemon curd to someone in the family, though my sister and I had never heard of or tasted it.
Cornbread had an important place in my family history. My mom always said it was cornbread that won my father’s heart. My father always said it was his Oldsmobile convertible that won my mom’s heart. Anyway cornbread appeared often in the menus of my childhood. We ate cornbread with chili. We had cornbread slathered with sausage gravy for breakfast. Sausage gravy that was dark and well browned during the frying to create a brown, not white and gluey, gravy with onions in it.
Corn pone was another manifestation of cornbread in my youth. When there was a turkey carcass around, the bits and pieces were picked for Turkey Pone. My husband and I still carry on this tradition and he is very disappointed if I make turkey soup from the carcass instead of pone. Make a batch of corncake batter. When it is ready to cook, pour a little into the pan and smear around until you have a thin corncake. Sprinkle liberally with the turkey pickings. Cover with a little more corncake batter. Cook, flip and serve with leftover turkey gravy and leftover cranberry sauce. Yum.
This morning I treated myself to the corncakes with lemon and sugar. I remembered those Saturday mornings of my childhood when I could smell it cooking as I arose from bed. I never tired of it. The smell of fresh lemons is still a reminder of those days. You should try it sometime. Another variation is to use honey instead of white sugar, which is almost as good, but not the same.