Memos from the Middle

Smack-Dab in the Middle of Living

Cornbread: A Tribute to Grandmothers

Much to the chagrin of my soul food cooking grandma, I hate cornbread. Not only does my profound distaste for the southern culinary staple cause great embarrassment and annoyance in her, but it also really ticks her off. My grandmother would look disapprovingly at me when she placed red beans and rice sans cornbread on my plate, and any illness I would get or discomfort I might feel would be attributed to the fact that I don’t eat cornbread.

Cornbread (from

“I think I have the flu, grandma.”

“Well, if you ate some cornbread you wouldn’t get sick all the time.”

“I’m cold.”

“You could retain some body heat if you ate some cornbread every once in a while.”

“I just broke a nail.”

“Cornbread makes nails stronger, you know.”

As an adult, this seems funny to me, but I can remember being quite upset when my grandma would make me eat “just a little bit” of cornbread when we had company. It was easier to force me to choke down a hunk instead of trying to explain how her grandchild had the nerve to refuse a piece of cornbread. According to my grandma, cornbread could fix all of my troubles from my inability to gain weight as a child to menstrual cramps and headaches. (When I had painful gall stones, my grandmother swore that I didn’t need surgery, just some cornbread in my  diet.)

Eat some cornbread, girlfriend! (from

My mother says that cornbread was a meal, especially when people didn’t have money for much else, and even though people were poor, the cornbread sustained them. I guess this could be why my grandmother extols the merits of cornbread, but I couldn’t imagine having to eat that stuff daily.

Sitting here now, I wonder if my life and health would change if I started eating cornbread a few times a week. I have read blogs where people have tried swearing off meat for a month (my unnatural connection to Wendy’s would never allow this) or giving up television for a year (I would literally die without Netflix). I don’t think I’m brave enough to add cornbread to my menus (plus I have way too much stuff to write about to commit to blogging about eating cornbread), but if anyone out there is willing to take on eating cornbread for a month and ghost write posts for me, I’d probably let you.

For now, though, I think I’ll compose a few headlines just in case the cornbread/physical health connection is ever made by the medical community. Just remember that my grandmother said it first!

–Cornbread Staves Off the Common Cold

–Depression Linked to Abstaining from Cornbread

–Halitosis Prevention Linked to Cornbread Consumption

–Cancer Cure Found in Cornbread Recipe

–Forget Viagra, Erectile Dysfunction Thwarted by Cornbread

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4 thoughts on “Cornbread: A Tribute to Grandmothers

  1. Marilyn on said:

    Well the next time you cringe at the thought of eating cornbread, think about that scene in the story LIFE with Martin Lawrence and Eddie Murphy where the big guy (from eating cornbread) asks, “You gone eat your co’nbread?” I laugh every time I see this movie.

  2. I’ve thought about it, but I’m scared! Don’t laugh. I hated it growing up, and I’m afraid to try it now. I feel the same way about egg foo yung (eggs and gravy never seemed appealing to me). Maybe when I’m older, retired, bored, and braver I’ve give all of this stuff a try…

  3. My entire family is from Atlanta, and my great grandmother used to make the best cornbread and fried okra in the state (well, according to me at least). Maybe you should give it another try.

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