Why Spoonbread Matters

While driving outside of Richmond, Virginia, one day, I passed a seafood restaurant called Stuart’s Fresh Catch. Posted outside was a vinyl sign advertising lake trout, crabs, fresh fish, and spoonbread. Clearly one of those things wasn’t like the othe…

While driving outside of Richmond, Virginia, one day, I passed a seafood restaurant called Stuart’s Fresh Catch. Posted outside was a vinyl sign advertising lake trout, crabs, fresh fish, and spoonbread. Clearly one of those things wasn’t like the others, and I made a mental note to come back the next day to try spoonbread.

Spoonbread is one of the oldest Southern delicacies. When executed properly, it is incredibly light, even though it has a similar texture to grits, and almost tastes like an incredibly moist piece of cornbread. “A properly prepared dish of spoonbread can be taken as continued testimony to the perfectibility of humankind,” as John Egerton, author of Southern Food, wrote, The ingredients for spoonbread are cornmeal, milk, butter, eggs, sugar, and baking powder (although some recipes call for flour), and the lineage of spoonbread can be traced back hundreds of years in Virginia. Spoonbread was originally called “Batter Bread,” and a recipe for it appears in Mary Randolph’s 1824 cookbook, The Virginia Housewife, which is considered to be the first Southern cookbook by many culinary historians.

Read More >>

Why Yellow Cake Is So Important to Black Celebrations

Early in my relationship with my current partner, he threw a small birthday party for me. We went to a local bakery a few days before the party to order a cake. When the baker asked what kind I wanted, I said yellow cake with chocolate frosting. The ba…

Early in my relationship with my current partner, he threw a small birthday party for me. We went to a local bakery a few days before the party to order a cake. When the baker asked what kind I wanted, I said yellow cake with chocolate frosting. The baker had no idea what a yellow cake was, and my boyfriend said that yellow wasn’t a flavor.

I strongly believed, and still do, that not only is yellow a flavor, it is the only flavor when it comes to cake. Growing up, yellow cake was the only cake served at birthday parties. It was always present in the fellowship hall after church services and was the first cake to sell out at bake sales. I started to wonder if yellow cake was a cultural touchstone in the Black community, or if I was alone in my affection.

Read More >>