Image for   The Cornbread Conundrum

Serving cornbread in a senior living community can be a dicey proposition. Residents from northern states have a preference for a sweeter cornbread. Residents from southern states have a taste for a more savory cornbread. Personal preferences can run even deeper, even down to whether or not whole corn kernels should be present in the bread, whether it should be prepared in a cast iron skillet or hotel pan, and how crumbly the final product should be. How do we find the right recipe to satisfy the cornbread conundrum? 

A Little Background
The basic cornbread conundrum exists on a simple level: sweet or savory, with tastes generally linked to geography. I came to Lenbrook from having worked at senior living communities in Alabama and Kentucky. I could see cornbread controversies were rising across the south. In fact, they'd been going on for years, and Lenbrook was no different.

A Recipe for Resolution
Ahhhh, I thought. Surely there must be a peaceful resolution to be found, somewhere, somehow. At Lenbrook, our residents are very involved in food. In fact, we have a resident food committee of six to eight members who serve one-year terms and work with Dining Services to provide input and suggestions on everything from soup to nuts, including cornbread.
We've worked diligently with the committee over the years, preparing nearly infinite iterations of cornbread ranging from a Salem Sweet to a South Carolina Savory and everything in between. The committee selected their favorites across every category, and that’s what is currently being served. Known as the "Cornbread Compromise," it’s currently holding the community together.

Try Our Cornbread
If you visit Lenbrook now, you’ll find two cornbread offerings, a savory cornbread served in wedges and prepared in a cast iron skillet with just the right crumble ratio and a sweet cornbread cut into squares and prepared on a hotel sheet pan. Occasionally, just to keep things interesting, we throw in some jalepeno cornbread muffins. 
Every now and then stirrings arise around the sweet cornbread lacking the right amount of crumble and a jealousy of the crust found on the savory option. Only time will tell if the Compromise Cornbread will continue to keep peace at the table. When you visit, be sure and let us know which cornbread you prefer. 

Stephen West is Lenbrook's Director of Dining Services. He directs the community's four distinctive dining venues, including an a la carte "Bistro" for eat-in or take-out; outdoor dining on "Tim's Terrace;" fresh, made-to-order selections from the "Grill Room;" and exquisite cuisine and white tablecloths in "Fine Dining." He holds a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management Services and an MBA from the University of North Alabama.