As printed in “The Source” April 2013
There is a lot to be said for family. You can be away for a very long time and when you return it is like you were never gone. You can discover that heredity is pretty amazing, finding out the family members that you were not raised with have the same favorite foods, and some of the same pet peeves. I concluded my last trip home to Alabama with burying my biological father. Wendell Siniard was a self- made man, leaving school in the 3rd grade, never really learning to read or write. He was a successful electrician for many years and also owned/ran a restaurant on occasion. The last restaurant that he was associated with was the B&B Crossroads in rural Madison County, Alabama. He inherited the place from a friend and it was frequented by people from all walks of life. Computer technicians, Cotton Gin employees, field workers, farmers, retirees, and so much more all enjoyed the home cooking of the B&B.
You could always find grits, greens, fried catfish (locally caught), biscuits, cornbread, gravy, and if you were lucky you could pick the day when there was slow cooked pulled pork. Fall apart, smoky, sweet and delicious are all faint descriptions of the food made daily.
The food however was second to the familiar feeling you had walking in the door. Someone would greet you with ‘dear’ or ‘darlin’ and you would know you were in the right place.
At the services I could not tell you how many people spoke to me specifically about how they were
treated at the restaurant, even though he had not been involved with it in several years. It was nice to
hear that so many people were touched by this great man.
I would like to share with you his cornbread recipe.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Add ¼ bacon grease to cast iron skillet (preferably well-seasoned, maybe 30 years old?) place in oven to preheat as well (skillet and oil must be hot enough to sizzle when batter is poured in)
Mix together the following ingredients:
1 cup corn meal
1 cup flour
Enough butter milk to make a loose batter
Carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven and pour batter into hot pan… BE CAREFUL!
Bake for approximately 20 minutes until golden brown and delicious.
The bread should easily slide out of the pan or flip with a plate. Enjoy this with gravy, beans, chili, etc…
and the next morning when it is a little hard, pour milk over it and enjoy another southern favorite.
Please take the time to enjoy the family (biological or chosen) while you have the chance.