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"C" is for Cornbread

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"C" is for Cornbread. Cornbread has been the most common daily bread in South Carolina since its founding. Sarah Rutledge included thirty-four variations in The Carolina Housewife in 1847. By then, the traditional hoecake, or johnnycake, or pone—a simple hearth bread of cornmeal and water—had evolved into many elaborate forms. Corn, like rice, was much less expensive than wheat, and both grains filled breads of all sorts. Recipes for simple hearth cakes made with ground cereals appear in all cultures where grains are grown. English settlers replaced oats with rice or corn. By the twentieth century most rice breads had disappeared from Carolina tables. But cornbread—whether made from cooked grits, coarse meal, or fine corn flour—has maintained it popularity from the Piedmont to the coast throughout South Carolina’s history.

Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar receivedhisA.B.degreefromDavidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.