Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix: My Baking Shame

I’m a baking fundamentalist: no mixes ever, no freezer case puff pastry, and until I live in Montreal or France no tartes or gateaux from a bakery. No whomp biscuits from a can, unless I’m cooking in a lake house in the UP and the flour there has been collecting pantry flies for eight months. I do buy bread and English muffins, but I bake them too. I have never bought a cake mix.

Please don’t think I’m setting myself up as a purist paragon — I just really like to bake. So why, when it goes on sale for under fifty cents, do I stuff the shopping basket with six boxes of Jiffy Corn Muffin mix? Cornbread is so easy and cheap  to make that buying a mix makes no sense at all.

(For all my American readers, especially my Southern friends, it might interest you to know that a cornmeal flatbread, aka hoecake or Johnny Cake is a traditional and ancient Quebec recipe — we have the maple syrup after all. In fact an old racist English-Canadian chant went like this:” Pea soup and Johnny Cake makes a Frenchman’s belly ache.” The pea soup is made with whole, not split dried yellow peas and chunks of ham and I love it.)

We still have to add egg and milk to the mix, so it’s no money saver and it’s a mere thirty seconds faster than making your own. So why do I, and zillions of others love a box of Jiffy? I can’t speak for the zillions, but I can speak for me: it tastes good, it’s convenient and I don’t have to throw out a neglected canister of cornmeal because flies drift up my nose when I open it. It tastes good because it contains lard –pig fat, so glorious!

And for those nights when rice or pasta don’t feel right,I’m lazy, and there are no potatoes rattling around on the bottom shelf of the fridge, Jiffy is my friend. It’s so versatile: muffins, pancakes, waffles Hush Puppies or a pan of classic cornbread. We like to add a chopped jalapeño and some frozen corn for a silly Tex-Mex sensation. Speaking of Tex-Mex, pour it over a cast iron skillet of chile and there you are: a tamale pie.

But I don’t ever buy it unless it’s on sale. I understocked the last time, and I’ve been mixing my own for a few months, which is no hardship. One thing I know is true — it will be cheap just before Thanksgiving and I’ll do some serious stocking up. With the cornucopia of cooking that comes with that holiday I love me a box of Jiffy mixed with all those holiday herbs to transform it into cornbread dressing.

Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix from the folks in Chelsea, Michigan — when it’s cheap it’s for sure cheerful.



Filed under Food, Holidays, Home, Less than 50 cents

10 responses to “Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix: My Baking Shame

  1. Kim Shook

    Oh, I absolutely use Jiffy mix. I am even worse, though – I (cover your eyes, Rachel) add a tablespoon of sugar and an extra egg. I adore traditional southern cornbread, but I also love sweet, cakey cornbread.

    And Jiffy corn waffles make a sublime bed for BBQ!

  2. Bev

    We used to say..French pea soup and johnny cake makes you Mummy’s belly ache. I love French pea soup..the way you described. I make it often. Will have to seach out some Jiffy corn bread though.

  3. Alex

    If you’re in the area (Chelsea isn’t far from Ann Arbor), you can take a tour of the factory (http://www.jiffymix.com/index.php/tours/) and eat lunch or dinner just down the road at The Common Grill (http://www.commongrill.com/).

  4. Care to share your pea soup recipe? Pleeeease?

  5. Patty

    Who doesn’t love Jiffy corn bread…this was a staple in our house at least once a week. We have it more rarely now, but when we do make the muffins, right from the oven I make a nice slice across the top and fill it with a big chunk of butter and let it melt right through. With a cup of tea, it is definitely a comfort food.

  6. Val Erde

    Sounds interesting. Not something that we can get in the UK, I don’t suppose. Not sure I’ve ever had corn bread anyway, fresh baked or otherwise.

    A few years ago when we put our house up for sale, we were eating a lot of convenience foods (packeted, canned, jarred.. is jarred a word? Probably not) as we were just too knackered to cook (we take it in turns on alternate days, me and hubby) and unfortunately some of this still hasn’t eased off. So, opening packets and so on… isn’t something I avoid. But I should!

  7. At age 59 (and a Southerner) I’ve just had an experience with bad eggs that leaves me reticent to break eggs – but a great discovery with Jiffy Mix – my sister makes it in mini-muffin pans which creates hush puppy sized muffins. I used 2.5 T of mayo instead of an egg, sprayed the pan – fantastically crispy outsides, smooth, moist insides.

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