So airy, like a creamy cornbread pudding and lighter than polenta, custard-like, dense yet delicate! Some, in the southeastern Carolina Low Country consider a well-made spoon bread a national treasure, definitely an endangered southern dish. In restaurants it’s found in very select old hotel dining rooms and long-standing taverns.
Just the words, “spoon bread” seem an oxymoron. If you need a spoon, it is “pudding-like,” right? If it’s bread, you don’t need a spoon, right? This Native-American dish, inspired long before anyone ever heard of powdered leavening agents.
There is also a Mexican version of spoon bread. In it they use evaporated milk, black beans, jalapenos and bouillon for flavoring. It is a preferred dish for special occasions.
We know spoon bread has been handed down to us in this country by Native Americans, and they had at least two names for it: suppone or Awandaw. Its original, simple batter is usually composed of eggs, cornmeal and boiling water to scald the cornmeal and soften it. Early Native American versions and later did not have the benefit of baking soda or baking powder, for they had no food scientists then. This left the main task of making the spoon bread rise to the air beaten into eggs.
Years later the Practical Cook Book, published in 1850 called spoon bread “Indian Puffs.”
It is important to thoroughly understand the recipe you choose, then take no short cuts, if you want to achieve “spoon bread bliss.”
- Chili peppers
- Cream-style corn
- Feta Cheese
- Goat cheese
- Green onions
- Maple syrup
- Sweet potato
Spoon bread is ideal at breakfast, with brunches, lunchtime and as a side with dinners.
Here are some foodsites with spoon bread recipes.