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Feb 25, 2008 12:35 AM

Why is White Cornmeal a Southern Thing?

Aside from its use in (Northern)Johnnycakes, it seems that white cornmeal is used almost exclusively in ' the South' and also that the South uses almost exclusively white cornmeal.(BIG area, I know.....). So I'm guessing that white cornmeal is made from white corn ? and white corn was the norm in the South, which was settled before the Midwest (maybe yellow corn was a later development/popularity?)
Plse educate me on this if you can! Thank you.

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  1. Sorry, I don't know the answer, but I have a question for you. Does that mean your cornbread is made w/white cornmeal? I have never seen white cornbread and find that interesting. We do eat grits here in the West and that is made with white cornmeal, so I know that we do have and use both here.

    1. You are correct about white cornmeal being made from white corn, and yellow cornmeal being made from yellow corn. Yellow cornmeal also has a stronger taste.

      1. I'm from the South and I generally use white cornmeal as I was taught but I also keep yellow cornmeal on hand. The older folks taught us that white cornmeal was for people and yellow cornmeal was feed for the chickens, hogs and other livestock. I think white cornmeal is more prevalent in the Deep South because it's primarily what was used in Africa.

        2 Replies
        1. re: SoulFoodie

          i'm a little confused. i believe corn is indigenous to the americas, and was therefore taken over to africa , like peanuts and so many things, so white cornmeal would have originated here in north america.

          1. re: opinionatedchef

            I didn't say that cornmeal originated in Africa. My point is that white cornmeal is traditionally used in Africa. My apologies for the confusion. Since the OP's original question is "Why is White Cornmeal a Southern Thing?', I thought that there may be a connection to Africa via the slaves that used it and maybe that may account for some of the preference for it in the South.

        2. I am a transplanted southerner and I don't like yellow cornmeal. There may not be any difference in flavor except what is affected by my eyes but I prefer white cornmeal. It's impossible to find in my area of Indiana. My family always used white cornmeal. In fact, for years my dad grew white field corn and dried it on the stalks. Then we would shell it off the cobs and take it over to a man who ground it into cornmeal for us. I have never seen such a fine textured cornmeal since then and really miss it! We even ate the field corn as corn on the cob or creamed corn instead of the typical yellow sweet corn. I prefer it that way to this day but can't get it.

          1. is this what martha white's country cotton cornbread mix is?? Is it sweeter? I noticed on the package directions, it requires only water, but so does one of the other yellow cornbread mixes. I imagine it doesnt rise as high as those that require egg and milk.