A real, old-time, traditional Southern fish fry or barbecue never seemed to be complete without a whole gaggle of bluetick hounds hanging around the edges of the action. Naturally, the canines always set up a horrendous din when the folks began to eat . . . which — just as naturally — always inspired the people at the gathering to throw together something cheap and filling to shut the dogs up.
For this purpose, over a period of time, dogs and humans kind of compromised on thumb-sized cakes of corn bread deep-fat fried in whatever grease was handiest. The improvised canine chow was good enough to quiet the hounds (hence the name "hush puppies"). It also, as many Southerners soon learned, went mighty well with whatever the people were eating. The word spread. Hush puppies are now regarded as a genuine Southern delicacy, and the following recipe is as traditional as any we've found:
2 cups fine cornmeal
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup onion, finely chopped
1-1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup water
Mix the cornmeal, baking powder, and salt together and then stir in the onion. Blend in the milk and water next, adding more cornmeal as necessary to make the dough stiff enough to be handled. Shape the batter into small round or elongated cakes, drop them into deep, hot fat (360 degrees Fahrenheit), and turn them occasionally until they're well browned.
Hush puppies are most flavorful when fried together with fish and served piping hot.
Read more about helpful homesteading tips: MOTHER's Bi-Monthly Almanac: Star Chart, Tin Can Cookstove and Natural Remedies for Sunburns.
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