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YARBROUGH: Cornbread another official reason to love this great state
Dick Yarbough
Dick Yarbrough

By the time you see this, cornbread may be Georgia’s official state bread. It has been a long time coming and it might not have happened except for the herculean efforts of state Rep. Kasey Carpenter, R-Dalton, who happens to be a restaurant owner when not getting inspiring legislation passed under the Gold Dome.

Of course, as with everything in politics, there was some debate, this time from biscuit lovers. Rep. Gregg Kennard, D-Lawrenceville, declared his fidelity to biscuits and added that gravy should also be named the state’s official condiment. (Gravy a condiment? I thought gravy was just gravy.)

As for me, I feel strongly both ways, having had a momma who could whip up both cornbread and biscuits, not to mention sopping gravy as good as could be done. By the way, both cornbread and biscuits are greatly enhanced with application of butter, if one of our intrepid public servants would like to go for making butter Georgia’s official state high-calorie dairy product made from milk fat. But expect opposition from the powerful oleomargarine lobby.

As you know, I am a proud Georgian. And why not? We are home to the Blue Ridge mountains; the Golden Isles; the University of Georgia, the oldest state-charted university in the nation; the sweet Vidalia onion; the Masters; “Georgia on my Mind,” the greatest state song in the history of the world as sung by Ray Charles Robinson, of Albany, Georgia; and now we are looking at having an official bread.

I called Junior E. Lee, general manager of the Yarbrough Worldwide Media and Pest Control Company, located in Greater Garfield, Georgia, and asked if any other states have an official bread. Junior would know. He is not only highly respected among his media colleagues for his political expertise, he is also a certified pest control professional. Eat your heart out, Tucker Carlson.

Junior’s research shows that only a few states have an official bread. Maryland declared corn muffins their state bread in 1986. Not to quibble, but a corn muffin is just little cornbread baked in little round holes. Real cornbread is round and thick like a cake, sliced like a cake and best enjoyed when cooked in an iron skillet.

Oklahoma also recognizes cornbread as their official bread. Sort of. They include as a part of their official state meal, which consists of steak and okra and black-eyed peas and grits. (Grits in Oklahoma?) South Dakota and Texas feature flybread, made from wheat, baking soda and water, which I’ve never tasted and don’t plan to. Sounds like eating cardboard.

Should the Legislature pass the cornbread measure, it will end up on Gov. Brian’s Kemp’s desk. He is sure to sign. Next to trouncing Trump’s buddy David Perdue in the GOP primary and then decisively whipping liberal icon Stacey Abrams in the general election, this could be the governor’s finest hour. Georgia would then become one of only four states out of 50 – or maybe it’s 54, as Joe Biden says – with an official bread.

Cornbread will then join the pantheon of official recognitions in our state along with our official amphibian, the green tree frog; the official fossil, a shark tooth; the official insect, the honeybee; the official seashell, the knobbed whelk; and the official fish, the largemouth bass. (I would have guessed catfish.)

We also have an official state nut, the pecan. Incidentally, California lists their official nuts as almonds, walnuts, pistachios and pecans. That was a surprise. I would have thought it would have been their entire congressional delegation and anyone who chooses to live in downtown San Francisco.

Our official vegetable is, of course, the sweet Vidalia onion, renowned in all the world. Vermont, by contrast, lists its official vegetable as the Gilfeather turnip. There is also the Gilfeather Turnip Festival, held annually in Wardsboro. This year’s festival featured Wardsboro’s own strolling troubadour, Jimmy Knapp, and his original Gilfeather turnip ballads. No wonder Vermont has resorted to paying people to move there.

But I urge our intrepid public servants not to rest on their laurels in getting cornbread the recognition it is due. There is more to do. We should recognize sweet tea as our official drink. Barbecue as our official meat. Banana pudding as our official health food and the 2020 presidential election as officially over. Please.

And if you really want to be bold, here’s one for you. How about an official modest-and-beloved columnist? I think I know just the guy. Unofficially, of course.

You can reach Dick Yarbrough at or at P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139.