Deep-fried and served with seafood, especially fish, hushpuppies are a southern treat with roots that go back to the 16th century when a group of Ursuline nuns in Louisiana were said to have converted cornmeal into a delicious food that they named croquettes de maise. These delicious nuggets are also called corn dodgers, depending on the addition of sugar and/or onions to the batter.
An African cook in Atlanta is said to have given the name hushpuppy to this food. When frying a batch of catfish and croquettes, a nearby puppy began to howl. To keep the puppy quiet, she gave it a plateful of the croquettes and said, “hush, puppy.” The name stuck.
Another story says that during the Civil War, Confederate soldiers would sit beside a campfire preparing their meals. If they detected Yankee soldiers approaching, they would toss their yapping dogs some of the fried cornmeal cakes with the command “Hush, puppies!”
Whatever the origins, hushpuppies have become a favorite Southern side dish. Stop by one of Charleston’s many seafood restaurants and enjoy a sizzling hot basket!
- 1 cup cornmeal
- ¼ cup flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup milk
- 1 finely chopped onion
- 1 egg
Mix corn meal, flour, baking powder and salt. Break in egg and start beating. Slowly add milk and beat until it becomes a paste; stir in onions. Drop a gob from a spoon into deep, hot grease. Remove when golden brown.