Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Cornbread City

Posted By on Tue, Oct 21, 2008 at 1:00 PM

click to enlarge sands_sign.jpg

At the risk of starting a culinary donnybrook (a food argument? moi?) I'd like to assert that cornbread should be hot, salty and greasy. Sugar is for children, flour is for Northerners, vegetable oil is for the clueless. Yellow cornmeal, shortening and possibly even bacon grease are the requirements.

Probably you're already hitting the "comment" button, but if you get this far, you'll agree that it takes an expert hand to make great cornbread, because it's finicky. It dries out fast and can easily veer into too greasy. I've even tasted cornbread that was both dry and greasy at the same time. Doubling and tripling cornbread recipes can produce disastrous results. Sometimes good ole Martha White cornbread mix is the surest, safest bet.

Good cornbread is so rewarding that I'm happy to be able to pass along this recommendation. The restaurant formerly known as Silver Sands is now just called The Sands, and the cornbread is powerfully good.

click to enlarge sands_corncakes.jpg

A good stop on any tour of the city's soul food joints, The Sands offers liver, oxtails, neckbones and other soul food, along with meatloaf, oven-baked ribs, smothered steak, fried chicken and other meat-and-three offerings. We got oxtails, neckbones, greens, corn and cornbread.

Savory and salty, it had a distinctly meaty taste, as if it were cooked on the grill right after the bacon at breakfast. To me, it's close to the perfect cornbread.

What's your idea of perfect cornbread, and who serves it, if anyone?

The Sands is at 937 Locklayer Street (behind U.S. Tobacco), 742-1652.

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