When Cindy and I were first married I had to
show her how to boil water. Her mother would
sneak over care packages of food after learning
we had dined at Krystal's the last four nights in a
row (back then the burger chain's chili was thick,
tasty and a real bargain).
Today, I pay homage to three of her signature dishes
that are simple and a delight every time.
Heavy and moist like a quiche. She preheats
a 10 inch cast iron pan, adding Crisco. Mix yellow
corn meal, buttermilk, finely shredded cheddar cheese,
a can of cream corn, diced jalapeno and pimentos. Pour
into the hot pan and bake in a 450 degree oven for
45 minutes or until done. I splash on some
This recipe comes from an old cookbook complied by
members of the Order of Easter Star of Mobile in
mid-1980 and sold as a fundraiser. (See image)
Chili with Bacon Infused Cornbread.
Pound and a half of good quality beef, browned in
a big pot, add garlic, chili powder, chopped onions,
salt, pepper, chili beans and tomato sauce. Simmer.
Her cornbread bakes for fifteen minutes in a 425
degree oven, in a nine inch well preheated
cast iron pan that contains 2 tablespoons of bacon
Mix white cornbread, teaspoon of salt, baking soda,
a slightly beaten egg, a tablespoon of bacon
drippings, and a cup of buttermilk. Pour into the hot
pan. Working together we can have a great meal in
We've modified the original cornbread recipe a
bit, but inspirational credit goes to Cowboy Kent
and Shannon Rollins https://kentrollins.com/and
we highly recommend their books.
Large white Lima beans with Bacon Infused Cornbread.
The same great-tasting cornbread. The beans are
simmered on high heat in a crock pot from breakfast to
midday, well covered in water or a stock, with a few strips
of bacon, salt and pepper. Cindy likes her beans as is. I
garnish with hot sauce, diced green onions, or garlic salt
Cindy's mother (Christine or "Cricket," as she was called by
her husband) would add a large side of chopped fried
potatoes and also fry the cornbread mix. Her kids would
fight to get a place at the table. It was the most requested
dish anytime one of us returned home.
Christine Martin Ayers, her two siblings and mother
were abandoned by their father, Clarence. He was once
arrested in Texas for bigamy. Jinsey Martin worked as
a riveter at the Brookley Field complex during WWII, but
raised her family mostly on the wages of a nursing assistant
employed by Mobile General Hospital. Christine's
younger brother contracted measles at a very young age
and was forever cognitively and emotionally impaired. As
children, they lived in impoverished, disadvantaged
circumstances. As adults, you would never suspect that
Christine was a model mother and traditional wife. Her
occupation was the safety, stability, and nurturing of her
family. Her children would not suffer the same
vagaries of her own childhood. Honest, loyal and
forgiving. No son-in-law could have had a better mother-