Cook the Book: Truman Capote's Family's Cornbread

Cook the Book: Truman Capote's Family's Cornbread

The first of our cornbread recipes this week is for a Southern cornbread. Crescent Dragonwagon, the book's author, has helpfully broken up The Cornbread Gospels into regional divisions, explaining the differences among them. There are too many to go into here, suffice it to say that this cornbread should do you right no matter where you live. It's a recipe adapted from Sook Faulk, whose niece Marie Rudisill was Truman Capote's aunt. Faulk reportedly gave the recipe to Rudisill "with the understanding that [she] would share them with Truman Capote, [her] sister's child, who had been brought up in Sook's hometown, Monroe, Alabama."

  • Yield:8 wedges


  • 1 tablespoon butter or bacon drippings
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups stone-ground white cornmeal


  1. 1.

    Preheat oven to 450°F. Place the butter or drippings in a 10-inch cast iron skillet; place it in the oven.

  2. 2.

    Combine the eggs and buttermilk in a small bowl or measuring cup, whisking together well with a fork.

  3. 3.

    In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, salt, baking soda, and cornmeal; stir well to combine.

  4. 4.

    Stir the egg mixture into the dry ingredients, beating just until the dry ingredients are moistened and no more.

  5. 5.

    Pull the skillet from the oven. It should be hot, with the fat sizzling. Swirl the pan to coat. Quickly transfer batter to skillet; return skillet to oven.

  6. 6.

    Bake until browned and pulling away from skillet, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve hot, in wedges.