Matt and Amy Bell, owners of the restaurant South on Main, usually avoid cooking contests. But the cornbread festival was different. "It's more of a community project than a competition," Matt says. "And it's directly outside the restaurant." The pair won the traditional category with their classic cornbread, a recipe developed by Amy's grandmother Nellie Mae. "You don't dare mess with family recipes," Matt says. "And if you do, you better make sure they can't tell."
1/3 cup vegetable oil, plus more for the baking dish
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 cup buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and brush a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with vegetable oil.
Whisk the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk the egg, vegetable oil and buttermilk, then fold into the dry ingredients with a rubber spatula until just combined.
Transfer the batter to the prepared baking dish and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool 15 minutes before serving.