by Kenneth Jernigan

For the recipes this month we have gathered together several recipes that Dr. Jernigan contributed through the years to this column.

Corn Bread

From the Editor: It's unlikely that anyone who ever shared a meal with the Jernigans in their home found no cornbread on the table. Dr. Jernigan dearly loved it and made sure that there was always a supply on hand. The recipe is the authentic one, and one can still buy cast iron pans for baking it from the Materials Center at the National Center for the Blind.


1 cup yellow corn meal

teaspoon baking soda

teaspoon baking powder

teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk

Sunflower seed, safflower, corn, or olive oil

Method: Mix the cornmeal (the nondegerminated kind if you can get it) with the soda, baking powder, salt, and buttermilk. Do not mix the buttermilk with the dry ingredients until the oil has been put into the oven to heat. This will give you a better product.

Get your oven to a temperature of 475 degrees. (Be sure that you get it that hot even if you have to use an oven thermometer to know.) Use iron muffin rings or iron corn stick molds, and put two teaspoons of oil in each individual ring or mold. Wait until your oven has reached 475 degrees. Then put your oiled pans in, and leave them for six minutes.

Take the pans out of the oven and put one tablespoon of the corn bread mix in each ring or mold. Put the filled pans back into the oven immediately and leave them there for sixteen minutes. Remove from oven and much joy in eating. By the way, the teaspoons and tablespoons and the cups are the measuring variety, not the regular kind.

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Dr. Jernigan and Barbara Pierce concoct a barrel of NFB Tea.


Somewhere around 1970, when the National Office of the Federation was at the Randolph Hotel Building in Des Moines, I began making a concoction which I called NFB Tea. I served it to the first seminar, which occurred in the fall of 1973, and I served it in the presidential suite at National Conventions. Some admired it; others couldn't tolerate it; but everybody knew about it.

Then, as the seventies passed into history and the eighties came and went, the custom of serving NFB Tea at conventions and seminars faded. However, there are those who pine "for the good old days" and long to see a revival of the soothing brew. They continue to ask that the recipe for the NFB Tea appear in the Monitor.

When I remind them that I put it into the Monitor some time early in the seventies, they simply respond with annoyance, saying that they don't remember it, don't have that edition of the Monitor, or don't want to be bothered with irrelevancies. Since the recipe is now quite different from what it was when it appeared in the Monitor a decade and a half ago and since the requests continue, it seems worthwhile to print it again. So here it is as revised:

You can make as much or as little NFB Tea as you want by increasing or decreasing the quantity of the three basic ingredients. Just keep the proportions the same. Pour equal parts of pineapple juice, orange juice, and cranberry juice or cranberry cocktail into a large container. If you don't intend to use at least as much as a forty-six-ounce can of each of these juices, it hardly seems worth the bother, not to mention which it will be difficult not to overflavor. After you mix these three basic juices, the fun begins. I usually add about one-third as much peach or apricot nectar and one-third as much apple juice as I have used of each of the three basic ingredients. Sometimes (but not always) I also add a small amount of pear nectar if I have it, about half as much as I have used of the apple or peach.

Then I begin to sweeten the mixture with either sugar or sugar substitute and add flavors, tasting as I go. I regard certain flavorings as indispensable, but NFB Tea is a highly flexible brew, which should be crafted to the taste of the brewer. I always use vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. I use liquid cinnamon and nutmeg, and if I don't have the liquid, I make it by heating the ground spice in water as strong as I can and straining it.

Next I add small amounts of a large variety of other flavorings. I emphasize that you should begin with only dribs and drabs. Remember that you can always put more in; once it's there, you can't take it out. The mixture of flavors will depend on the whim of the moment and what I have handy. But I will always use at least eight or nine in addition to the cinnamon, vanilla, and nutmeg. Here are some of the ones I use: almond, Angostura bitters, anise, apple pie spice, arrack flavoring, banana, blackberry, blackcurrant, blueberry, brandy flavor, butternut, butterscotch, butter rum, caramel, cherry, peach, chocolate, clove, coconut, coffee flavor, English toffee, a tiny amount of ginger, hickory nut, lemon, pineapple, lime, maple, orange, orange bitters, pear, pecan, pistachio, pumpkin pie spice, root beer, rose, rum flavor, sassafras, violet, sherry flavor, strawberry, tangerine, walnut, and most anything else I can find. I don't use mint, eucalyptus oil, or wintergreen. It will also be observed that NFB Tea contains no tea. When I first started making the brew in the early seventies, I used Lipton tea, but I abandoned the practice before the end of the decade. It had to do with some of my Mormon friends and also with my evolving taste. I like it better without the tea.

When the mixture has been thoroughly concocted and tasted, a good deal of ice should be added and stirred in. All that remains is to enjoy the product and try different proportions next time, but not different proportions among the three basic ingredients—pineapple juice, orange juice, and cranberry juice or cocktail. And no omission of the three basic flavorings— vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Anything else goes.

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Dr. Jernigan and President Maurer inspect a Thanksgiving roast of beef

Ginger Beef and Other Things

Ordinarily I appear in these pages as Monitor Editor, and sometimes as the author of an article, but on this occasion I want to deal with cooking— or, more precisely, the creation of recipes—something which I dearly love to do. Two or three years ago Mrs. Jernigan and I went to a Jewish wedding, and the beef was just about the best I had ever tasted. I hunted up the host, who hunted up the chef, who told me how he did it. It had to do with a marinade, in which he had partially immersed the meat, turning it now and again. I liked the recipe, but I thought I could improve it—and, at least to my taste, I have.

This is what you might call a sort of all-purpose marinade. Mrs. Jernigan and I use it for beef, pork, and fish. We boil mushrooms in it. We make gravy of it. I'm sure it would be good with chicken, vegetables, and (for all I know, though I have never tried it) desserts, stir fries, or mixed drinks. It might even work as hair tonic, liniment, shoe polish, cleaning fluid, or a remedy for the flu. Be that as it may, here it is for whatever you choose to do with it. Use it at your own risk. We make no guarantees and assume no responsibility for the results.

When I use this recipe, I usually multiply everything by four or five so that I will have some to use and some to keep. If I am preparing beef or pork, I put a gallon or two into a large bucket or pan and totally immerse the meat, putting a plate or bowl on top of it if necessary to hold it down. I then refrigerate it for twenty-four hours, remove the meat, and either cook it or freeze it for future use. Frozen, it will keep very nicely for months or years, perhaps because of the potency of the marinade. Anyway, here it is:


4 cups soy sauce

2 cups dry sherry (Dry Sack preferable)

cup ground ginger (Yes, I know it sounds like a lot, but that's how much to use.)

cup liquid smoke

1 tablespoon nutmeg

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning (Old Bay is a Maryland spice. If you can't find it, maybe you should substitute a couple of teaspoons of McCormick Season-All and a teaspoon of chili powder. If you can't find the Season-All, then you might simply want to leave this ingredient out, or have a shot at something else.)

2 cups sugar

1 cup honey

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 teaspoon red pepper

Method: Stir all ingredients thoroughly; immerse the meat; and prepare for pleasure.