"Must be something you know. What your mama teach you growing up?" She looks down at the webby feet of her stockings, says, "I can cook corn pone." I can't help but laugh. "What else you know how to do sides corn pone?"Corn Pone is a very simple, flourless and eggless pan bread made with white cornmeal and water and is baked in a cast iron skillet coated in hot oil.
I used this recipe:
2 cups white corn meal
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups of cold water
4 tablespoons oil (I used coconut oil)
Heat the oil in the cast iron skillet in the oven while the temperature reaches 475 degrees. Mix the white corn meal, salt and water until you have a mushy, pancake batter consistency. Pour the batter into the heated pan and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until it starts to brown just a bit on top.
After Celia discloses her non-existent cooking skills, Minny's first cooking lesson commences: fried chicken.
"Chicken's been soaking in the buttermilk," I say. "Now mix up the dry." I pour flour, salt, more salt, pepper, paprika and a pinch of cayenne into a doubled paper sack. "Now. Put the chicken parts in the bag and shake it." Miss Celia puts a raw chicken thigh in, bumps the bag around. "Like this? Just like Shake 'n Bake commercials on the tee-vee?" Real careful I lay the dark meat in the pan. It bubbles up like a song and we watch the thighs and legs turn brown. I look over and Miss Celia's smiling at me."What? Somethin' on my face?" "No," she says, tears coming up in her eyes. She touches my arm. "I'm just real grateful you're here."
I have never made fried chicken, either. I followed Minny's recipe for the most part; minus the cayenne and with the addition of a teaspoon of garlic powder. I used coconut oil to fry the chicken (Minny used Crisco), it turned out well and my taste-testers complimented me on the finished product. I recommend salting the chicken once it's almost done frying to give the crispy outer edges more flavor. It was lacking in the salt department, for my tastes.
Can't wait to be AMAZED at what everyone contributes to April's culinary smackdown!