Spider Bread at the Roadhouse

An old New England Cornbread now available every night!  

By Ari Weinzweig

For years now, this has been one of the secretly delicious foods at the Roadhouse. I’ve loved it since day one, but the only time we’ve served it has been on Tuesday evenings as part of our Blue Plate Chili special. But we’re finally turning it loose for others to try the rest of the week!

Spider bread is not a “cornbread” the way you’re used to thinking about it. First off, it’s cooked in a skillet, not in the oven. The term “spider” is a reference to the “arms” on the commercial stove on which the skillet sits above the flame. Secondly, spider bread is special because it has a thin but luscious layer of cream layered into the middle of the cornmeal. There are recipes for it in any number of old New England cookbooks, most prominent of which is probably Fannie Farmer’s The Boston Cooking-School Cookbook.

The version at the Roadhouse is exceptionally good because we make it with Anson Mills heirloom varietal cornmeal. Like everything we get from Anson Mills, the corn is grown organically. It’s field dried and stone ground. Like all Anson products, it has the germ left in it (which makes it way more flavorful) and has to be refrigerated. We accent the whole thing by garnishing it with a ribbon of sweet and delicious Muddy Pond sorghum molasses—marvelous stuff! The spider bread makes a great appetizer. Or even an excellent light meal along with a nice salad. If I wasn’t already working on the floor at the Roadhouse every evening, I would seriously consider driving across town just to have some Spider Bread.

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