Our state trails only Vermont in the production of maple syrup in the U.S. I have many childhood memories of tapping our maple trees in early spring and watching the sap come out. Corn bread, or johnnycake as it's called here in scenic Mohawk Valley, was a staple of the men fighting in the Revolutionary War. The volunteers, who were known as "Johnnys", carried their rations with them, and the johnnycakes held up well for days.
"This recipe for sweet corn bread is a combination of many trials and errors," says Kristy Kent, Wind Gap, Pennsylvania. "I tried to duplicate an extraordinary corn bread I sampled in another town. Adding honey to a combination of recipes finally did the trick."
A boxed corn bread mix gets a tasty treatment from Janice France of Depauw, Indiana when dressed up with bananas and chopped walnuts. The moist golden loaves are a great addition to a brunch buffet or bake sale.
In New Orleans, after the cake is baked a tiny toy baby is often inserted into it. Whoever gets the piece with the baby is supposed to have a year of good luck. The catch is they must also throw a Mardi Gras party next year. — Stacey West-Feather, Jay, Oklahoma
MY GRANDMOTHER would refer to this recipe as "comfort food", made from ingredients available on the farm or staples found in her pantry.
She always cooked the corn bread in her "seasoned" black skillet, and it turned out slick as butter every time.
-Elizabeth Cooper, Madison, Alabama
This is a delicious recipe I've served many times to my family. I don't always shape the bread into a heart, but it is fun to do that for Valentine's Day or another special occasion. Even if you don't have a heart-shaped pan, garnishing with ribbon adds a colorful touch. One of our favorite meals is this corn bread with bean soup and a salad.
"Our daughter Kaitlin created this moist bread," says Lauren McBride of Houston, Texas. "She loves to fix it for our family along with hot dogs and a salad. It's quick, simple, delicious and kid-friendly."
I first tasted this bread when we visited some good friends in Arkansas in the early '70's. I have made it on many occasions since then, particularly for card club and church functions. I enjoy my job as postal clerk at our local office, and spending time with our two children and five grandchildren.