Back in 1948, my grandfather had a gristmill. On Saturday mornings, people would come with bags of dried corn for the mill to grind into meal. I remember seeing the freshly ground cornmeal shoot down a wooden trough into a box. He who had brought the corn would leave with the same cloth bag draped over his shoulder full of meal and most likely thinking about where he was going to store it to keep the bugs out.
Later on, the mill went out of fashion, and it was much easier to buy meal at the store, just like it was to buy “light bread” as we called a loaf of sandwich bread and “sweet milk” as we called whole milk. And flour, oh my goodness, ladies flocked to the store to buy a “sack of flour” so that they could use the printed cloth bag that it came in to make a new apron or use the fabric in a quilt. Some even made beautiful dresses out of the “sack cloth.”
Life was not sophisticated if you lived in the country. Although you could not tell so by the evening gowns that my grandmother had tucked away for her Eastern Star dinners or the ladies teas at the church. Life was more of what you grew and canned or bought, and fish that you caught in the local pond. There were really no restaurants to speak of either, so eating out was not an option.
I know you must be wondering my point by now and it is this. You can take some plain old meal and make it into cornbread salad, a simple and uncomplicated but delicious food that is an excellent accompaniment to garden vegetables such as butterbeans, peas, and tomatoes. It is the southern version of the Italian bread salad, panzanella, which I also make and absolutely love.
I put tomatoes in the salad and that is one reason that it taste so good because the tomato juice blends into the mayonnaise and makes a dressing, but make it your own by adding whatever ingredients you like. Just enjoy.
1 cooked skillet (6-8 inches) of cornbread made with Buttermilk Cornbread Mix from recipe on package or your favorite cornbread without sugar
5 green onions including the green tender stems, thinly sliced
¾ cup green pepper
½ cup chopped bread and butter pickles
1 large or 2 small ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
Mayonnaise to moisten WELL
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook cornbread according to package directions. Put in a large bowl and crumble. Add green onions, bell pepper, pickles, and tomatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add enough mayonnaise to moisten well. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Add crumbled bacon, or anything else you would like to this salad.