Spoon Bread


Some people have a sweet tooth. My weakness is butter…with a dash or 2, or 3, of salt. I’ve gotten pretty good about moderating both, but at this time of year I give myself permission to go hog wild with it.

These are the potatoes I made for Christmas dinner…basically potatoes mashed with cream cheese, sour cream, chives, and yes – lots of butter, inside and out. (Notice all that melted butter on the top? Oh yeah…) I finished it off last night – about 4 helpings – all by my lonesome. The only regret I have is that I didn’t leave myself any for breakfast this morning. I sure would love some right about now.

The Ultimate in Comfort Food

With this being the Christmas season and all, I’ve been baking like mad all week. So much butter has passed through my kitchen, and across my lips, that if I were to go lie in the sun, I bet I’d ooze it from my pores. I’ve tried some new recipes as well as cooked up a bunch of mom’s favorites, and for the most part, they’ve turned out well.

Of course, I’ve been pretty rushed through it all, but I’ve tried to snap a few photos along the way and will try to get around to posting them this week; fingers crossed on that. The result of all this baking, for me – is that I am still on a butter high. I may be losing control.

So when I woke up this morning, with 5 kids to feed (we had a family sleepover) and pretty much nothing in the house, (did I mention I’ve been eating what I haven’t given away?), I decided to make a dish that would go well with – you guessed it – butter. 🙂

If you’ve never had spoon bread, it’s a cornbread that’s heavy on the eggs, so it’s extra moist, delicious, and topped with some butter, heaven in a bowl. You have to eat it with a spoon or a fork…it’s not really a bread. I first had it back in college at the Chalfonte Hotel in Cape May, NJ, where Helen Dickerson and her daughters Dot and Lucille whipped up some of the best southern food this southern gal has ever eaten. Yes, in Jersey. Miss Helen’s food was a real treat, and I got to watch her work as my friend Mary and I washed dishes for our room and board that week while visiting our girl Lee. I’ve always loved to eat, and I looked forward to every one of Helen’s meals that week…but the spoon bread was by far my favorite.

It’s been a lot of years since I made this…it’s another one of those things I learned not to make too often. As it stands today, I’ve already had two whole helpings of my own and have finished the 4 bowls I had made for the kids…they liked it, but not enough to eat more than a few bites. I guess that means I’ve really had 6 servings…oh. Fortunately, my mom stopped by and had a piece, so there are only 3 left now, and hopefully my husband will love it too…and eat a bunch when he gets home later.

Anyway, after cooking at the Chalfonte for 32 years, Helen was finally persuaded to put some of her recipes down on paper for the rest of us, and the result is this treasure trove of southern eats called “I Just Quit Stirrin’ When The Tastin’s Good“. That’s where this recipe comes from, in the “This and That” section:

I greased the pan with butter

1 cup Indian Head white corn meal

3 eggs, well-beaten

3 cups milk

2 T butter

1 1/2 tsp. salt

3 tsp. baking powder

Preheat oven to 450. Combine corn meal, butter and 2 cups of milk in pan, cooking slowly over medium heat. Bring mixture just to a boil, stirring constantly. Blend eggs, salt and remaining milk. Add to corn meal mixture. Mix well. Stir in baking powder. Pour into greased 1 1/2 to 2 quart casserole. Bake 25-35 minutes. Serve hot, with butter. Serves 6-8

Whip up the butter, milk and salt…

I used a 2 quart casserole, but I would suggest using a smaller one so it’s thicker. This one was actually just a tad overcooked at 25 minutes…still delicious, but a little less time or a smaller dish would have made it perfect!

Did I mention there were 5 kids over here today? Yes, I’d usually eat this in a bowl with a spoon, but them kids have taken over and I couldn’t find a clean one of either. Sure, I could have washed something quick, but then I’d have had to wait to eat it. Sorry. ;0)

Miss Helen

My copy's got spills and scribbles

Helen, Dot & Lucille

**These photos are from the cookbook, “I Just Quit Stirrin’ When the Tastin’s Good” by Helen Dickerson and were taken by Ray Fisk, Judy Bartella and Judy Bartella, respectively.

Enjoy this southern tradition, and let me know what you think!

…estimated nutritional stats (thanks to Nutrimirror!):

Stats for 8 Servings


(I made this again using only a 1/2 tsp salt, and it was just as wonderful, and only 376 mg sodium, 16% of my day’s suggested limit)


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12 responses to “Spoon Bread

  1. Kel

    My goodness that looks amazing! AND I have all of the ingredients!

    Can you come help me eat it?

  2. You are a gal who really needs an oven in her house 😉 So glad you’re back in business!

  3. Carrieredhead

    Wow, this is the best post! I’m so glad you are posting more! 🙂

    I can’t wait to try out this bread. Mmm!

    Much butter has passed these lips as well.

  4. Kel

    This is divine!

    I am adding this to my weekend breakfast menu!

  5. John Alexander

    Hey–can’t find your name but I may have met you at The Chalfonte. I had
    spoonbread when I visited in August and it was as good as ever. I went back to the kitchen and watched Lucille make her daily quota of 12 dozen rolls. (Dot was off.) Bought some white corn meal in Richmond yesterday–was thinking of The Chalfonte because we visited Jimmy Morris, Meenie’s nephew, and his wife Jane. I plan to serve this to our family for breakfast on Friday after Thanksgiving.
    How about a recipe for “Chicken Guts and Grits”, another Chalfonte favorite?
    Thanks. John Alexander

    • Hi John! Sorry to take so long getting back to you, but how cool to hear from TWO Chalfonte folks! Unfortunately, “Chicken Guts and Grits” was not included in the cookbook. Maybe you could get the recipe from Dot and Lucille the next time you’re there? Let me know if you did end up making spoonbread for Thanksgiving and how it turned out.

  6. E, Buchanan

    Heading for Cape May on Christmas day and was feeling nostalgic for Helen’s cooking. Also planning a Christmas Eve dinner here in Philly and thought about trying to find her recipe for spoonbread which I loved. Thank you for putting it here! So glad I found it. . . and with pictures to boot! Awesome.

    • Hi E! So sorry for the long delayed reply, but I have been neglecting this for some time now and am just getting ready to kick it back to life and seeing your post. Dot and Lucille are still there cooking, right? I would love to get up there and spend some time…my friend still spends much time there every year with her family. Have you been making the recipe?

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