So here is why I'm kind of a nightmare cook - and a horrible blogger: I wanted to make cornbread quickly (i.e., no extra trip to a store). Why did I need it quickly, you might ask? Well, I had just made Chicken Marabella (my all-time favorite chicken dish, BTW), pulled it out of the oven, and realized I had nothing to sop up the super-delicious sauce, which is the best part. Instead of making rice, I got it into my head that I should make cornbread (I could have made biscuits, but that seemed fussier, for the single reason of having to roll the dough out). The good news is that Chicken Marabella can hold and even be served at room temperature, so I had a little time to make the bread.
The problem? I didn't have enough cornmeal, no buttermilk, no self-rising flour (these were all needed for any one of the recipes I found in my cookbooks). So I used what I had: whatever amount of cornmeal (about 1/2 cup), wheat flour to make up the difference, sour cream, honey (instead of sugar), barely enough baking powder. Didn't have time to mess with completely melting the butter, so I just stirred it up to soften the not-quite-melted parts and dumped it in with the wet ingredients. No time for getting things to room temperature or sifting or such.
After I stirred everything together, it seemed a little stiff, so I added a little milk. Still thick, but I didn't have time to mess with it anymore, so I threw it in a greased, heated cast iron skillet (I put the greased skillet in the oven while it pre-heated), spread the batter around and hoped it would taste okay.
Here's why I'm a bad blogger about it: no pictures, no actual measurements (good luck recreating this monster), no real technique (stirred wet stuff together, then dumped dry stuff on top and mixed it all in one bowl). So, sorry about that, but thank you for sticking with me!
The result was surprisingly good, if a little sweet for my taste (note for future attempts: use less honey). I did manage to snap a photo when it came out of the oven:
Um, yeah. Here is the afterthought picture:
Not too helpful, is it? I was just one drink in, so I can't blame the nearly empty glass in the background for my lame blogging. ;-)
The lesson is this: baking is not as exacting as people make it out to be, so don't be intimidated by it. I do suggest you follow an actual recipe until you get the hang of things, though. I still do, sort of... :-)