Native Americans were using ground corn for cooking long before European explorers arrived in the New World. Southern Native American culture (Cherokee, Chicksaw, Choctaw and Creek) is the "cornerstone" of Southern cuisine. From their culture came one of the main staples of the Southern diet: Corn (maize), either ground into meal or limed with an alkaline salt to make hominy.
Cornbread was popular during the American Civil War because it was very cheap and could be made in many different sizes and forms. It could be fashioned into high-rising, fluffy loaves or simply fried for a fast meal.
Hush puppies, although available in many areas of America, are popular in the south. The name "hush puppies" is often attributed to hunters, fishermen or other cooks who would fry some basic cornmeal mixture and feed it to their dogs to "hush the puppies" during cook-outs or fish-fries.
Other hush puppy legends purport to date the etymology of the term "hush puppies" to the American Civil War. Union soldiers are claimed to have tossed fried cornbread to quell the barks of Confederate dogs.
I ate several dozen (no joke) puppies earlier this week in Virginia!
Hush Puppies - Justin Wilson Style
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion salt
- 1 egg , beaten
- 1/4-1/2 cup finely chopped green onion (including the green part)
- 3/4-1 cup buttermilk (add slowly so you don't get the batter too runny.)
- vegetable oil (for frying)
- Combine all dry ingredients
- Add egg, onions and buttermilk
- Mix well
- Drop tablespoon size balls into hot oil and brown on all sides.
- Drain on paper towel and serve
Justin E. Wilson (April 24, 1914 - September 5, 2001) was a southern American Chef and humorist known for his brand of Cajun cuisine-inspired cooking and humor. He was a self-styled "raconteur" and a staunch political conservative....we also share a birthday!