Why is white corn meal necessary for spoon bread?

Got that question over the weekend and it’s a good one. As it happens, white corn meal isn’t necessary, but it’s more traditionally Southern. White corn is to the South what sweet yellow corn is to the North. Both are varieties that are distinct from feed corn in that they’re considered to have a better, sweeter taste and crunchier texture. In fact the critical difference between “eating” corn and “cow” corn is the time it’s picked. Ears of corn exhibit a reverse sort of behavior compared to say, fruit, in that the kernels start out sweet and get starchier and more mealy as time goes on. The earlier the corn is picked once the ears fill out, the better. That’s not to say that some types of corn don’t have characteristics that make them better for Labor Day cookouts, but timing and handling are every bit as important, probably more so.

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