Ms. Lillie Hardy is a friend of Vivian’s and is often seen cooking on the show. I was happy to see some of her recipes included in the book like her fried cornbread on page 30. Vivian admits these are like “bare-bones simple” hushpuppies, and indeed they are. I love hushpuppies. They are a staple in the south and served with fried catfish.
I admit my cornbread is usually the Jiffy brand from a box, and I don’t remember the last time I actually bought a bag of cornmeal to use in anything. I’ve never tried making my own hushpuppies so this recipe was a good place to start.
I couldn’t decide which cornmeal to buy. Vivian says white or yellow will do but white is more common in the Southeast. Being in the Midwest, I decided to stick with yellow. The two big brands I had to choose from at my local grocery store were Martha White or Quaker. I decided to go with a small name brand just for the heck of it and chose Bob’s Red Mill because it was organic. It was a medium grind so it looked a bit like sand instead of powder. I think I probably would have preferred something a bit more ground, but this would do for now.
Vivian uses vegetable oil for frying, so I did too. I prefer peanut oil and I’m not sure if that makes a difference with cornbread or not. The other ingredients are just water, salt, sugar, and baking powder. They really are simple to make. Vivian’s are pictured above and here’s a picture of mine.
Crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside, they are definitely a nice side dish, and they took very little time and prep to make. But they are probably a bit too bare bones for me. Sorry Ms. Lillie! But now I have a good starter recipe that has inspired me to try making my own hush puppies!
Back home when I was a kid, my mom’s next door neighbor, Mrs. Nell, made large hush puppies for dinner occasionally and she always brought a small plate of them over for me. They were so yummy and had bits of onion in them and were always a nice surprise treat.
So tomorrow I’m going to attempt my own hush puppies. As for Deep Run Roots, we’re going to try grits next!