Arkansas. Hubby picked this one out of the hat and handed it to me with a shrug. “They can’t all be winners,” he said.
Arkansas was one of those states we weren’t looking forward to. I mean what were we going to have? Possum pie? We joked about that, but I discovered that possum pie is actually a thing—but thankfully it’s not made out of possum. I’m sure in the Ozarks right now, someone’s eating a pie made of possum, but there’s an actual dessert called “Possum Pie” and it doesn’t look too bad. That being said, I want an actual meal for each state, not a dessert. More internet searching was necessary.
All the research that I did pointed to Arkansas’s cuisine being reflective of their economy and the resources around them; catfish, okra, barbecue, anything fried… To be quite honest, nothing was really shouting Try Me! We had already covered quite a few southern states, sampling some of the cuisine popular in Arkansas and the rest was, well, not as appetizing as I had hoped.
Fortunately, I stumbled across the blog of a woman who was on a similar “state tour of food”, Tracy Tastes America. Her blog included many state recipes, including one for Arkansas Cornbread Sandwiches—ham and Swiss sandwiched between slices of cheesy cornbread. I like ham, I like cornbread, I LOVE cheese…SOLD! We could make the sandwiches for lunch on Sunday and watch Nascar like real southerners 🏁(Hubby watches Nascar regularly…Nascar time is when I usually take a nap on Sundays. It’s a great tradition.) 😏
Not everyone else in the family was as enthused as I was. Not a fan of cornbread, ham, or cheese, my son announced that the sandwiches sounded disgusting and he would not be partaking in eating them. Which was fine. Too bad for him—it’s his loss. He’s not experiencing the country’s finest food like we are.
The recipe consisted of simple ingredients, most of which we had on hand with the exception of the cornbread mix. I popped out to the store to retrieve a box of “Jiffy” cornbread and was delighted to discover that it only cost $0.59. What costs $0.59 anymore??? Seriously, you can’t even get a pack of gum for under $1. I bought two boxes just because it was such a bargain.
In the process of scouring the internet, I found a similar recipe on Pinterest—this one said that because the cornbread was apt to fall apart as sandwich bread, so I should NOT add the egg as the Jiffy recipe on the box calls for, but triple the milk content (1 cup). The 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese added to the cornbread mix should also help keep the bread together.
I was also excited at another opportunity to use my Cuisinart (seriously Cuisinart, why aren’t you sponsoring me yet???).
The bread was supposed to cook for 20-25 minutes on 425, but in my fabulous new toy it baked in 12 minutes!
Since I’ve been reading a lot of recipes for the state tour, for some reason I thought there was bacon on these sandwiches. There was not. At any rate, I bought bacon for the sandwiches and what the hell…who doesn’t like a few slices of bacon on their sandwich? We added bacon. Plus, it gave hubby the opportunity to use his new toy, the cast iron skillet. 🙄
*Side note: I’m not allowed to touch this cast iron skillet. I was joking with him on the phone the other night and I told him I used it to make cheesesteaks and I could hear his blood pressure go up. I got a ten minute lecture on cleaning the skillet properly so I didn’t ruin it. 🤦🏻♀️
The sandwiches themselves were simple to assemble: mayo spread on the bread, add lettuce, tomato, red onion, ham, and Swiss (and the bacon if you’d like). I cringed about the mayo—IMHO mayo and ham do not mix, but I added it anyway. I absolutely refused to add the red onion however…there are just some things I will not compromise on.
Surprisingly, it was a very tasty sandwich and very filling as well. We ate around 1:30 and none of us were hungry for dinner until much later than usual. Here is the dog, upset that we weren’t sharing our sandwiches with him:
So go grab a box or two of Jiffy cornbread…the next time you’re having a lazy Sunday afternoon, you can whip up these sandwiches in no time for a yummy Arkansas lunch…no possum needed.