I have mentioned before how much of a staple The Houston Junior League Cookbook has been in my family.
With all of the comments I have been getting about people serving Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili or Deer Hunter's Chili for the Super Bowl, I had to share the cornbread recipe that we grew up on! Because, what is chili without cornbread!
With older cookbooks or older recipes, sometimes I have to do a little research to figure out certain ingredients. Sweet milk was one of those "research projects." (yes, I could have just called my parents or my Gigi, but I thought it would be fun to find out on my own!) And this was the best explanation I found!
"In the 1930's and 40's the country was coming out of the "Depression". We had no extras, frills, fancy names, just staples, like sugar, flour, salt, pinto beans, peanut butter, syrup, corn meal that you bought in town.You only went to town once a month, sometimes longer between. You bought huge quantities. You raised a hog, chickens, and a cow as well as a garden for your vegetables. Vegetables were canned to eat during the year when winter time came and you could not grow vegetables, The cow provided milk which was used for drinking and cooking, chickens provided eggs for eating and baking, and the hog to eat your table scraps and other feed to fatten up, kill hog in the fall to have bacon, ham, and the rest for food for the year. To preserve the hog meat you had to use sugar cure to preserve it.(No refrigeration).Fresh sweet whole milk had to sit at room temperature for several hours and the cream came to the top. You skimmed that cream off the top and churned the cream. That separated the butter fat from the milk to make real home butter. What was left with flecks of butter in it was buttermilk. So the term sweet milk referred to milk just milked from the cow. It had the butterfat and all in it. After churning and getting the butter out, it had turned sour and made buttermilk. So the term sweet milk was just the whole milk before any processing had occurred,then it became sour/ buttermilk. - From a 75 year old granny Fort Worth Texas" http://www.thriftyfun.com/tf37995784.tip.html
I LOVED this explanation of sweet milk (hey, I AM a history teacher) . . . so from 3 generations of my family to yours, Enjoy!
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup sweet milk (regular milk)
1/2 cup cooking oil
1 Tbs sugar (Our family always adds 1 Tbs of sugar to this recipe!)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Grease 8x8 pan and place in oven to heat until piping hot. (5-10 minutes) Combine cornmeal, flour, salt, soda and baking powder; mix thoroughly. Add buttermilk, sweet milk, egg and oil to dry ingredients, and stir well. Pour corn bread batter into hot pan and bake at 450 degrees about 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
The Houston Junior League Cookbook