Film Strip Father’s Day – Slightly Sweet Blueberry Cornmeal Spoon Bread

“The Film Strip”

One of my many early food memories is of my Dad eating a glass of icy thick cold, golden-flecked buttermilk with some of my Mother’s warm cornbread crumbled into it. I am pretty sure this combination is mostly a Southern thing.

My Dad was a rounder to say the least. On this eve of Father’s Day I think of him and can still see him sitting in our linoleum floored West Tennessee kitchen. Bare-bulb ceiling light casting harsh shadows, the back screen door keeping out the moths and letting in a summer breeze, sitting, alone in the summer night heat, the beginnings of a hangover about to take hold, quietly eating his buttermilk and cornbread, looking up, seeing me standing in the doorway…a cocked smile on his face, offering me a bite.

Most of my food memories have mental film strips attached to them. Some are laugh-out-loud funny, some are quietly poignant, others from my raucous youth and a few bitter-sweet. I keep them all and they have all helped me as an adult in so many ways. So, on this Father’s Day, while thinking of Dads in general and my own in particular, I came up with a new way to combine buttermilk and cornmeal with a dash of sweet.

“Slightly Sweet Blueberry Cornmeal Spoon Bread”

(For this recipe I used local, just picked blueberries from the Sylvan Park/West Nashville Farmer’s market and fresh buttermilk from J.D’s Dairy in Russellville, Ky from the Downtown Nashville Farmer’s Market.)


1 pint fresh blueberries

1 1/2 cups fresh buttermilk

1/2 cup yellow self-rising cornmeal

2 Tbsp cream

2 tbsp softened butter

1/2  cup raw sugar

3 eggs, separated

1 tsp salt

1 Tbsp vanilla extract


First things first: Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

1. In a saucepan bring the buttermilk & raw sugar to a low boil. When the buttermilk begins to bubble around the edges of the pan slowly whisk in the cornmeal. Stir with the whisk for about 8 minutes with heat on low. Mixture should be mushy. Remove from heat. Cool slightly.

2. Beat egg whites with the salt until stiff. Set aside.

3. Whisk butter  & vanilla into the slightly cooled cornmeal mixture.

4. Add egg yolks to mixture & whisk until well blended. Stir in cream with whisk.

5. Gently fold in beaten egg whites. Pour 1/2 of the mixture into a buttered  baking dish &  top with 1/2 of the blueberries. Spread the remainder of the cornmeal mixture over the blueberries.  Top with a scattering of the remaining blueberries.

6. Bake for 30-35 minutes until top is golden brown, firm but wobbly in the center. This spoon bread will be somewhat like a souffle in puffiness. Remove from oven and let sit for about 5 minutes. Serve hot with a dusting of powdered sugar. This Blueberry Cornmeal Spoon Bread is really good at room temp or chilled as well.

Father’s Day June 19, 2011

Most Sunday mornings my friend Terry Martin and I work (or don’t work)  the NYTimes Crossword Puzzle. It is our long-standing tradition and unless one of us is out-of-town we honor this custom without fail. Terry has been a bit dismayed that she has so far missed out on my “Blog Food”. This Father’s Day morning (both of our Father’s are long-dead) I made this  “Slightly Sweet Blueberry Cornmeal Spoon Bread” especially for her. We worked the puzzle, we ate the warm, powdered sugar dusted Spoon Bread, we worked the puzzle, we ate some more…….


"Darling" cup from the flea market. I think it might have been a child's drinking cup, but found it holds exactly 1/2 cup so it has become my favorite 1/2 measure cup.

25 thoughts on “Film Strip Father’s Day – Slightly Sweet Blueberry Cornmeal Spoon Bread

  1. You are such a good story teller, as always. I love the way you cook your stories into your food. I feel like I was there.

    1. Teresa,
      I was at a blueberry farm today and your spoonbread recipe has been on my mind since I hit the field. I cannot WAIT to try this recipe because it uses all the ingredients I love most. Something tells me that I will be making it more than once and since the blueberry season goes on for another month, I’ve got plenty of opportunities. THANK YOU, my sweet friend!
      Tammy Algood

  2. Oh goodness Mama….I never met my grandfather but I like to think of him the way you have so vividly painted his picture, sweet but flawed, as are so many of us. Sweet story and sweet treat, love it.

  3. since i got to taste this beautifuldelicious concoction, i know your daddy would be proud of you. i know i am.

  4. This recipe reminded me of my Dad too! He would always say “I don’t like blueberries they are too sweet, but in this (whichever dish he was eating) they are really good.” I know he would have liked it.

  5. How nice of your Father to be willing to share his sweetness small bite with you Teresa…sounds like you had a nice relationship.
    Niicer still, is for you to create a very interesting dessert for us to hopefully one day enjoy as well ;o)
    I do love blueberries…so I guess it shouldn’t take too long to give your tasty treat a try.

    Flavourful wishes,

    1. Liz, I would love to say I have leftovers, but honest to God, Terry and I ate the whole thing while working the puzzle. It is so easy and wonderful still warm.

    1. Nancy, thanks so much for the kind words. Terry and I ate the whole thing with no regrets. Father’s Day made me think of that image of my Dad and I realize most of my good childhood memories have to do with food in some way…picking blackberries with my Grandmother, Mother frying fresh caught catfish at the lake in the largest iron skillet I have ever seen, working in the garden weeding and hoeing, large Sunday dinners at my Grandparents with about 20 people huddled around the kitchen table and so many more. T

  6. Maybe I am just a sappy girl, but the bit about your father almost made me cry 🙂 I felt like I could see the whole thing. Maybe because growing up I always sat and looked at my grandad eating buttermilk and cornbread and thought that it must taste horrible, but that was just him and he still does it today. We may have grew up in West TN many years apart, but your last comment to Nancy was my childhood in a nutshell! The pictures are beautiful, and probably my favorite post yet!

    1. Stephanie, thank you so much for your sweet comment. I think there is a common thread where food and small towns in West Tennessee come into play. Although I am much older than you I do think there are places that stayed the same for a long time, through multiple generations. There are have been many big changes, but on the small “home front” we all have some very similar memories where generationally things remain the same. West Tennessee is a different, almost unconnected part of Tennessee with its’ own unique culture. I know you understand this so well. T

  7. I am sorry I forgot the time on this one….bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Spoonbread will be puffy and golden brown on top and just a wee bit jiggly in the center. It will continue to bake even after it is out of the oven for a few minutes. The key is to not over-bake. Good luck and let me know how it turns out for you. It is sublime and a great recipe to make right now with all the blueberries. Also I am going to try this with blackberries.

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