You can't chow down on chili without having some corn bread on the side! This recipe is an all-time favorite and the secret to its delicious taste lies in the buttermilk, which along with the sugar, makes the cornbread very tender and sweet. This is the best corn bread I have ever eaten — you'll want to sop up every last bit of your chili with this bread.
Heat oven to 400 degrees. It is best to use a cast iron skillet, but if you don't have one use a 9-inch round or square cake pan. Place the margarine or butter in your cast iron skillet and melt in the oven, carefully remove the pan, and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the buttermilk, eggs, sugar, and salt. Pour in the melted margarine, leaving about a tablespoon of it in the hot pan. Be careful pouring the melted margarine as cast iron pans stay hot for a long time. Beat everything up again (I use a large balloon whisk). Finally, fold in the cornmeal, flour, and baking soda. Whisk again until the batter is mostly smooth. Turn the batter into the hot, buttered skillet or pan. Carefully put the skillet back into the oven and bake the corn bread for about 25 minutes. It will be golden brown and the edges will pull away from the sides of the pan.
Remove the skillet from the oven and let it cool a little while before slicing into 8-12 wedges. The iron skillet gives this corn bread the traditional crispy hillbilly crust. It will cook in a different type of pan, but it will not turn out quite the same.