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History of the Hushpuppy

Wed, Apr 12, 2017 at 4:50PM

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Nothing goes better with a classic, good-ole-fashioned fish fry than a plate of freshly made hushpuppies. The simple, crispy treat--made with little more than cornmeal and flour--is an effortless way to quell your hunger after a long day on the water.

But how did this classic seafood side, become a classic? We're exploring its origins in today's blog!

A Native American staple

Because Native American tribes were the first groups to discover and grow corn, it only makes sense that they introduced an early form of what would become an essential ingredient to hushpuppies: cornmeal. Southern tribes such as the Cherokee or Seminole would ground up corn which would then be boiled, a very early version of the cooking method used to create what we now know as hushpuppies.

From fishing trips...

So, we know the culinary process that led to hushpuppies becoming a staple of Southern cuisine--but how did the simple corn treats earn their unique name? We might have southern fishermen to thank for that! It is said that, during fish fries at the end of a day on the water, the anglers would put together simple balls of cornmeal and leftover ingredients to toss to their dogs to "hush" them.

We can imagine why it worked so well--after all, nothing can quiet a barking dog much like a delicious, crunchy treat to dig into!

...to wartime fuel

Some also say that the hushpuppy was used for similar purposes in the American Civil War, when confederate soldiers would toss the treats to nearby dogs to stop their barking.

Today's hushpuppies

We don't quite see hushpuppies as dog food anymore--in fact, they've earned a welcome spot on many a dinnertime table. Their simple, crispy nature makes them a perfect complement to a variety of dishes, most famously fried seafood such as catfish and other types.

To spice up your hushpuppies for your next cookout or fish-fry, why not mix the ingredients into something new? Some daring chefs have integrated crab cake ingredients into their basic hushpuppy recipe for a fusion of flavors that are sure to please.

Hushpuppies may have been made for man's best friend--but today, our love for this simply delicious side makes it decidedly "people food," best kept on the table and away from the floor! 


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