Charlene “Chi-Chi” Smith of Women of Hip-Hop Dance Collective Shares Her Tried-and-True Mexican Corn Bread Recipe






cornbread in pan
Courtesy Smith.

Charlene “Chi-Chi” Smith’s Mexican corn bread is so well-known amongst her family and friends that it’s developed its personal nickname: “MCB.” The Women of Hip-Hop Dance Collective member and LOHH trustee has been making this recipe for almost 20 years. Her shortcut model is an adaptation of a household buddy’s unique. To chop down on time, Smith makes use of boxed corn-muffin combine and canned cream-style corn reasonably than making these components from scratch. She’s additionally changed beef with turkey. “I’ve not met an individual who doesn’t like it,” says Smith, including that MCB can stand alone as a primary dish alongside a salad, or work as a aspect to a bigger meal. “After I make it, my husband and I eat it two or thrice a day till it’s gone.”

Smith, who additionally teaches hip hop and vernacular jazz at Tempo College and at studios throughout New York and New Jersey and works with the Double Dutch Dreamz coaching program, credit her strategy to cooking to her twin upbringing with each her mother within the Bronx and aunt in Maryland. Each girls’s influences are clear in Smith’s strategy to seasoning. “I imagine that Black individuals as an entire needed to make issues style good as a result of we got scraps,” she says. “It’s in our mobile reminiscence to make taste out of something. Regardless that my mother and my grandmother had been from the North, we use cooking kinds and flavorings from Louisiana and people earlier settlements of our individuals.”

Kitchen Playlist

For Smith, cooking is commonly a fast-paced exercise. After an extended day of instructing and rehearsing, she works rapidly to get dinner on the desk with a view to get her 4-year-old in mattress on time. And the music she listens to within the kitchen displays her pace. “Typically I’ll play dance-party music and jam whereas I’m cooking,” says Smith. “However after I’m baking, I prefer to hearken to jazz.”


  • 1 lb floor turkey (You possibly can substitute another floor meat or meat substitute that fits your choice, or omit the meat solely.)
  • 2 8.5-oz.packing containers corn-muffin combine (Smith prefers Jiffy Vegetarian Corn Muffin Combine as a result of there’s no pork in it, however any model will work.)
  • 2 14.75-oz.cans cream-style corn
  • 2 4.5-oz.cans chopped inexperienced chiles (Smith likes Outdated El Paso model finest.)
  • 16-oz.tub bitter cream
  • 1/4 cup taco seasoning combine
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 8 ozshredded cheddar or Mexican-style cheese mix (Smith buys block cheese and shreds it herself.)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Brown floor turkey in a heated skillet over medium warmth, breaking apart and stirring sometimes for even cooking.
  3. Because the meat cooks, mix corn-muffin combine, corn, chopped inexperienced chiles and bitter cream in a big bowl. Combine properly.
  4. As soon as the meat is browned, add the taco seasoning and a couple of/3 cup of water and proceed to cook dinner till the colour is even all through. Take away from warmth.
  5. Put together a 13x9x2–inch nonstick baking pan by lining it with parchment paper or spraying evenly with cooking oil.
  6. Pour 3/4 of the corn bread combination into the baking pan. Subsequent add the turkey in a layer, adopted by the cheese. High with the remaining corn bread combination.
  7. Bake uncovered for about an hour, till the highest is cut up and the colour on the floor is near a toasted yellow-orange.
  8. Let stand for 10–quarter-hour earlier than digging in. The corn bread solidifies because it cools.

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