Cornbead and crockpots for chilly days

This cornbread is sweet and fluffy, perfect with chili after a long day

Two weeks ago, I received some startling news: My son’s preschool will be unexpectedly and permanently closing, and his teacher will be moving far away to care for her mother’s sudden medical needs.

She told me with tears in her eyes that she had made some phone calls for me in advance and then handed me a list she had prepared of schools with current openings. The news sent me reeling.

What if I couldn’t find child care in time? What if I couldn’t find anything that would accommodate my work schedule? What if the only options were too expensive for us to afford? Would I have to quit my job if suitable arrangements couldn’t be made? What if he is unhappy at his new school? So much worry and uncertainty from one short conversation.

The very next morning, I scheduled a tour at a school nearby for that same day — I knew I wouldn’t have a moment of calm until our future was determined. This particular school usually has a waitlist, so I knew if I wanted to get him into the only available spot, I would need to act fast.

By the end of that day, he had secured a seat in the classroom and my fears had been put to rest, but the hardest part was yet to come … my little one would have to say his first goodbye.

He spent one more week with her before the start of the holiday break, and on Friday afternoon he told her he loved her and hugged her goodbye for the last time. I handed her a laminated card “from” my little one with a picture of him on his first day with her. The note thanked her for teaching him how to be a student and for taking such wonderful care of him these past four months.

When the winter break is over, our lives will be very different. We will be adding a winter sport to our evenings, which means I will be needing to rely on my crockpot and make-ahead snacks to keep his energy up for skiing after his days in a busy classroom full of new friends. This cornbread is sweet and fluffy, perfect with chili after a long day.


1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup yellow cornmeal

2/3 cup sugar

3 ½ teaspoon baking powder

1 cup milk

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 large egg

½ cup frozen corn kernels


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Grease and flour your baking vessel. You can use a 9-inch round, 9-inch square, or muffin tins.

Whisk together the all-purpose flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, oil, and egg until smooth.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until there are no more dry lumps.

Mix in half of the corn kernels then pour into your baking dish.

Sprinkle the rest of the corn on top.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. The time for this will vary depending on the vessel — a 9-inch round or square will need about 35-40 minutes, but muffin tins will take maybe half that. Keep an eye on it and rotate the pan if necessary.

Allow it to cool just enough to be able to handle.

Serve still warm with butter and honey.