Tag Archives: Scottsdale

Thanksgiving Recipe: Hilton Corn Pie, aka Killer Cornbread

cornbread at First Thanksgiving

“The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth” (1914) By Jennie A. Brownscombe
Date 1914. This painting is in the public domain.

Corn in one form or several seems a natural at the Thanksgiving table. After all, it is one of the foods the Natives taught the Pilgrims to use, and they could make a rudimentary cornbread.  In fact, a Smithsonian article quotes  Willliam Bradford, Pilgrim leader, writing of that first Thanksgiving feast:

“And besides waterfowl there was great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison, etc. Besides, they had about a peck a meal a week to a person, or now since harvest, Indian corn to that proportion.”

For more information from a knowledgeable source, go to the Plimoth Plantation.

Having researched the matter, I’m convinced that my foremothers–from Pilgrims to mother and grandmother– when they donned their aprons at Thanksgiving, worked some corn into the menu. But those early Pilgrims could not have made this recipe–poor things. They had no dairy (no butter or cheese), no chiles, and probably did not have hen eggs. Forget baking powder, let alone a pyrex dish!

Although this is a modern recipe that I added to our Thanksgiving traditions, I still have the presence of other generations in my kitchen.  Thinking about what kind of corn recipes they made. Heeding my mother’s hint about greasing the pans. Save the butter wrapper when you dump the butter in the mixing bowl, and wipe the buttery residue over the inside of the pan.

I’ve been making this particular cornbread recipe ever since the late 60s when I found it on the recipe pages of the Scottsdale Progress. Yes, there WERE newspaper pages totally devoted to food stories and recipes back then. During the 60s, somebody came to the conclusion that women were also interested in sports, the stock market and breaking news, and little by little the “Women’s pages” disappeared from the newspaper. (And now the newspaper itself has disappeared from Scottsdale.)

First to go was the Society Page, where all women were either Miss Smith or Mrs. Thomas Jones–as though they had no identity of their own. And the coverage ran to bridal stories that detailed what everyone in the wedding party wore–including the mother of the bride; reports on who was inviting whom to tea; and Hints from Heloise. I appreciated the new attitude toward women readers, but I would also have appreciated having my cake (recipes) and eating it too.

Corn bread from Scottsdale Hilton

Scottsdale Hilton

Feminist rant aside, I am grateful for the interview in the Progress with the chef of the then-new Hilton on Scottsdale Road at Lincoln Road.  I have used the recipe he shared for what was called Corn Pie, Scottsdale Hilton, at many a potluck and family dinner since.  It is one of those dishes whose absence is noted if I ever dare to neglect it at Thanksgiving time.

At that time, chefs in upper scale restaurants were just beginning to realize the benefits of incorporating Mexican ingredients, if not whole recipes, into their fancy menus, and stressing the Southwest. Corn pie sounded like tamale pie, hence the recipe name for what is really cornbread.  I’m inclined to call it Killer Cornbread, with the subtitle–“The dish you never want your cardiologist to know you are eating.”

Hilton Corn Pie


  • 1 cup butter (softened)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs (room temperature)
  • 4oz green chiles (diced, mild)
  • 1 can creamed corn
  • 1/2 cup cheese (Cheddar, shredded)
  • 1/2 cup cheese (Monterey Jack,shredded)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup corn meal
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


1. Cream together buter and sugar
2. Beat 4 eggs and add to the butter/sugar mixture
3. Mix in chiles, creamed corn, cheese.
4. Sift together flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt.
5. Killer Corn Bread batter
Stir flour mix into other ingredients. Note: Mixture will look lumpy.
6. Killer Corn Bread in dish
Pour into greased and floured 8 x 12 or 9 x 13 pyrex baking dish.
7. Bake at 300 degrees one hour, until slightly browned on edges and pulls away from sides of dish.
8. Serves 12 or more.

July 4 Recent Past

U.S. Flag in front of our house

Happy July 4

The picture above is of the flag in front of our house against a stormy sky. July 4 is the traditional start of the summer storms in southern Arizona, and hanging the flag is sometimes a dicey affair, if you want to bring it in before the rain starts. Likewise, the public fireworks displays routinely get canceled because of high fire danger.

I can’t say for sure how all my ancestors celebrated the 4th of July, but it was probably the traditional Parade, Political speeches and Picnic. I do know that I had ancestors who served in the Revolutionary Army, and signed the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution .  We’ll get around to their stories later, but imagine they were feeling like John Adams when he wrote to his wife Abigail on July 3, 1776:

Yesterday the greatest Question was decided, which ever was debated in America, and a greater perhaps, never was or will be decided among Men. A Resolution was passed without one dissenting Colony “that these united Colonies, are, and of right ought to be free and independent States,  and as such, they have, and of Right ought to have full Power to make War, conclude Peace, establish Commerce, and to do all the other Acts and Things, which other States may rightfully do.”  You will see in a few days a Declaration setting forth the Causes, which have impell’d  Us to this mighty Revolution, and the Reasons which will justify it, in the Sight of God and Man. A Plan of Confederation will be taken up in a few days.

Later the same day, Adams wrote:

But the Day is past. The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.

Although the new country took his advice in celebrating with pomp and parade, shows, bells, bonfires, guns (now fireworks representing guns) and illuminations–the date that became enshrined in history was not July 2, the date of the vote to declare independence, but July 4, the date of the acceptance of the written Declaration of Independence. John Adams didn’t mention speeches specifically, but they became a tradition of July 4 gatherings. You can find much information about the early celebration of Independence Day at  the site organized by James R. Heintze. American University, Washington, D.C, author of books about Independence Day.

For Independence Day, 2013, here’s a look back to a parade of celebration only about 50 years ago, when our country was 180 years old.

When we lived in Scottsdale, I  belonged to the Scottsdale Junior Women’s Club (a Federated Woman’s Club) and we sponsored a children’s parade each July 4. Kids came with wagons and strollers and bicycles all decorated with red white and blue and some of us dressed in colonial costume, or as Statue of Liberty.  Here’s me with Brent one year and Brent the following year.

July 4 parade, 1965

Vera Marie and Brent Badertscher, Scottsdale July 4 parade, 1965

July 4, 1966 Brent Badertscher

Brent Badertscher, Scottsdale Parade, July 4 1966, Az Republic

Enjoy your July 4 ice cream!