The United States is vast country that prides itself in its achievements and accomplishments. The vastness of the country isn’t restricted to just achievements, it is also in its diverse culture. With varied customs across the country, the United States is a delightful mix of cultures. Each culture has its own traditions, norms, and specialties. Now won’t it be great if we could take a peek into some of these traditions, especially the ones related to food.

One such tradition is Spoonbread. This yummy, moist, cornmeal-based dish is a vital part of the culture and tradition of the Southern part of United States. Being moist and soft, it is often misleading to call Spoonbread a bread because it resembles a pudding  or a soufflé more than a typical  bread. In Southern America, Spoonbread is traditionally eaten in the same container it was made in using spoons and forks.

The main ingredient of a Spoonbread is cornmeal, milk, butter, and eggs. These ingredients are combined and cooked before being baked until it is set. Often, many chefs add ingredients like cheese, bits of corn, and even vegetables to add variety to the dish.
So, what are we waiting for? Let’s take a look at some different Spoonbread recipes.

Fresh Corn Spoon Bread

•    2 cups whole milk
•    1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
•    1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (from 2 to 3 ears)
•    1 tablespoon unsalted butter
•    1 teaspoon salt
•    4 large eggs, separated

1.    Preheat oven to 425°F.
2.    Bring milk, cornmeal, corn kernels, butter, and salt to a boil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderately high heat, stirring frequently, and simmer, stirring constantly, until thickened, 3 to 4 minutes.
3.    Remove from heat and cool 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then whisk in yolks.
4.    Beat whites and a pinch of salt with an electric mixer at medium speed just until soft peaks form.
5.    Whisk one fourth of whites into cornmeal mixture in pan to lighten, then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly.
6.    Spread mixture evenly in a buttered 9 1/2-inch deep-dish glass pie plate or 1 1/2-quart shallow casserole and bake in middle of oven until puffed and golden, 15 to 20 minutes.
7.    Serve immediately (like a soufflé, spoon bread collapses quickly).

Jalapeno Spoonbread

•    2 tablespoons unsalted butter (plus butter for coating the baking dish)
•    4 eggs, separated
•    1 cup stone-ground cornmeal
•    3 cups whole milk
•    1 teaspoon salt
•    A pinch of sugar
•    1/2 cup minced red onion (optional)
•    1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced (optional)

1.    Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a deep (3 inch) 1 1/2 quart baking or souffle dish, or a deep cast-iron skillet.
2.    In a large bowl, whip the egg whites until medium-stiff peaks form; set them aside.
3.    In a mixing bowl, whisk together the cornmeal and 1 cup of the milk. In a medium saucepan, heat the remaining milk until steaming hot. Add the cornmeal mixture to the saucepan and cook, whisking constantly, over medium-low heat, until the mixture thickens (you’ll begin to see the bottom of the pan as you whisk), about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in the salt, sugar, and butter.
4.    Add the yolk yolks one at a time, whisking to combine after each addition. Add optional ingredients, if using, and stir to combine. Gently fold in the egg whites. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.
5.    Bake until the spoon bread is puffed, with a golden brown crust, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Serve with soft butter.
Serves 4 to 6.

Buttermilk Spoon Bread

•    7 large eggs
•    1/2 cup whipping cream
•    4 cups water
•    1 1/2 cups buttermilk
•    1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, diced
•    1 1/2 teaspoons salt
•    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
•    2 cups yellow cornmeal

1.    Preheat oven to 350°F.
2.    Generously butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish.
3.    Whisk eggs and cream in large bowl to blend.
4.    Bring 4 cups water, buttermilk, butter, salt, and pepper to boil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Gradually whisk in cornmeal. Reduce heat to medium-low.
5.    Simmer until thick and smooth, whisking frequently, about 4 minutes.
6.    Gradually whisk hot cornmeal into egg mixture.
7.    Transfer batter to prepared dish.
8.    Bake uncovered until golden on top and gently set in center, about 30 minutes.
9.    Let stand 10 minutes.
10.    Serve warm, directly from dish.

Winter Squash Spoon Bread

•    2 cups cooked butternut squash, puréed
•    1 cup cooked carrots, puréed
•    1 tablespoon butter
•    1/2 cup onion, chopped
•    1 cup water
•    1/2 cup skim milk
•    1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
•    3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
•    1/2 cup skim milk
•    3 egg yolks
•    3 egg whites
•    2 tablespoons butter
•    2 teaspoons salt
•    1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
•    1/8 teaspoon cumin

1.    Preheat oven to 400°F.
2.    Cook Squash: Cut squash lengthwise and remove seeds. In a lightly greased casserole dish, place squash flesh side down and bake at 400º F for 45 minutes, or until tender. Cool slightly, remove squash from skin and purée.
3.    Cook carrots and purée. Lower oven temperature to 375º F.
4.    SPOON BREAD: In a 3 quart saucepan, sauté onions in 1 tablespoon of butter until translucent. Add water, 1/2 cup milk, and rosemary. Bring onion mixture to a boil. Whisk in cornmeal. Cook, stirring constantly, for an additional 1 minute. Remove from heat.
5.    To create the batter, combine the cornmeal mixture, puréed vegetables, and remaining 1/2 cup of milk, egg yolks, 2 tablespoons butter, salt, cayenne, and cumin in pan.
6.    Beat egg whites in a separate bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold into batter. Place in greased 2 quart casserole.
7.    Bake at 375º F for 45-50 minutes, or until set. The center should be soft; do not overbake. Spoon bread is served hot, as a side dish, using a spoon.