Simple secret ingredient in low-fat cornbread

One of the treasures Colleen brought back from her fourth-grade class visit to the Swiss Heritage Festival in Berne last month was a jar of freshly ground corn. The kids got to feed corn cobs into the antique hand-cranked agricultural implement themselves to see how it used to be done back in the days when Annie-Bananie was her age.

The simple secret “fat substitute”: The little bit of oil in this batch of corn seemed to do the trick for a tasty pan of corn bread.

We’ve made a couple of batches of cornbread from the recipe on the jar, but when I went to mix some up for breakfast this week I discovered we were out of both butter and oil. What could I use to replace the fat? I didn’t have any applesauce or pureed pumpkin, my usual first-off-the-bench fat substitutes, either.

Desperation finally drove me to see what should have been obvious: Corn itself contains some oil.

And we just happened to have some, hand picked from Uncle Dan’s field and then frozen this summer before being served up at the girls’ birthday dinner at Grandma’s this week, in the fridge.

Ground corn from the Swiss Heritage Festival.

I used ¼ cup corn in place of the ¼ cup cooking oil the recipe called for, and our low-fat cornbread turned out great — so good that I don’t see any reason not to make it this way every time, unless I happen to be out of corn. (And if I wanted to make this a no-fat cornbread, I could just use a couple of egg whites in place of the egg.)



   Swiss Heritage Festival Recipe for “Simple Corn Bread”
1 cup freshly ground corn
1 cup flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
¼ cup cooking oil (or corn, the starchy vegetable not the oil)

Mix ingredients and pour into greased 8-by-8-inch baking pan. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown. (Knife inserted in center should come out clean.)

Colleen stops by Grandpa’s station at the festival to operate a hand-cranked apple peeler. Grandma was volunteering at a sawdust doll station, but a storm blew in before we got a picture taken with her. The kids had to evacuate to a local school.

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