Posted May 2, 2016, by Kerry McFall (bonus – includes recipe!)
“…and the livin’ is eeeeasy…”
Battle Creek slid quietly past the dining room of our AirBnB accommodations, a welcome green respite after the festivities of the National Cornbread Festival in South Pittsburg, TN. A muskrat paddled a slow V through the thick waters every now and then, and dragonflies the size of hummingbirds buzzed past. Family, friends, and a glass of wine… Eeeeasy.
“Sow Pibbur” as the natives (slowly) pronounce it is the home of Lodge Manufacturing, where genuine cast iron skillets have been made since about forever. And more’s the miracle, they’re still being made there! Twenty years ago they began hosting the cornbread fest down the main street of this 3-Stoplight-Town (wait, now there’s four I think), and it has grown into quite the event.
“Pappy’s Bank”, mixed media by Kerry McFall
“Cornbread Music Tent”, ink drawing by Kerry McFall
“Battle Creek Girls circa 1950”, mixed media B&W by Kerry McFall
Sitting on the bench outside the Quilt exhibit (which was in the American Legion hall), I sketched City Hall, which used to be known as “Pappy’s Bank” by my husband’s family. Pappy let his grandkids play with the coins in the vault… innocent times. The music events were really authentic country, this tent was full of traditional music including a washboard player. At the Princess Theatre we even got to see the National Champion Buck Dancer both dance and play the fiddle – seriously, what a talent, but it was too dark to sketch or photograph in there! The black and white painting I did from a vintage photo in the house – to be honest, there were actually three girls in the photo, but artistic license and a short window of opportunity meant that she got “cut”… sorry, dearie, but I assume she’ll never know!
I hope to do more sketches from my photos of the Vintage Car Drive Thru at the Dixie Freeze diner (yay, it’s still there, it’s still wonderful!) and I’m still trying to get caught up.
But how was the Cornbread, you ask? We missed getting to sample the contest entries in Cornbread Alley (the line was long, and the pavement was hot…), but we enjoyed the hospitality of several local friends and acquaintances, and here’s my favorite recipe, courtesy of the generous fellow making the omelettes at the Kellerman’s brunch:
National Cornbread Festival Cornbread Omelet Recipe (which had the Western Sizzlin logo on the paper, so maybe it’s theirs)
2 Cups self-rising cornmeal
3/4 Cup self-rising flour
4 Tblsp sugar
1 Tblsp salt
Blend first 4 ingredients. Add 1 egg, plus buttermilk to consistency slightly runnier than pancake batter. Heat 8 inch skillet over medium heat, melt butter to coat, add cornbread batter. When the edges start to brown, loosen and flip. When done to your liking, put on a plate, add sauteed toppings on one side, fold over and top with shredded cheese.
Toppings can be… whatever you like! I’m remembering bacon bits, peppers, onion, mushrooms, tomato… mmm.
For more info on the festival and some photos and maybe even recipes, check out https://www.facebook.com/NationalCornbreadFestival/