Three hundred years ago, the typical American landscape looked less like this:
And more like this:
Americans in the 1700s didn't have access to the fast food that we have today.
What they did have, though, was an appreciation for all things DEEP FRIED.
In 1727, a group of French Ursuline nuns in New Orleans created a batter out of ground cornmeal, and deep fried it to make cornmeal croquettes.
The cornmeal croquettes quickly became a staple in the south. The name is credited to hunters and fisherman who would fry off cornmeal mixture leftover from their own cooking and feed it to their dogs to quiet them around the campfire. "Hush, puppies!"
So, thank you, colonial nuns, hunters and fishermen, for your outstanding contribution to American cuisine.
Some of you are probably like, "Pshh, whatever. Hush puppies are just deep fried cornbread."
Well, actually, that is correct.
HOWEVER! something magical happens when you drop cornbread batter into the deep fryer.
They become sweet, fluffy orbs of bread-y deliciousness. One bite and you never want regular cornbread again. You want only hush puppies.
Hush puppies are southern, but you can get them pretty much everywhere. They're especially common at casual seafood restaurants.
And, they're super easy to make at home. Basic hush puppies only have six ingredients:
Seven, if you include oil for frying. And, if you don't have a deep fryer at home, you can just use a heavy-bottomed skillet:
How To Make Hush Puppies:
Adapted from Southern Living.
Makes 4 servings (12-16 hush puppies)
1/2 cup all-purpose Flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups vegetable oil, for frying
Combine flour, cornmeal, salt, and baking soda in a bowl. Make a well in the center of the mixture.
Whisk together egg and buttermilk. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir just until combined.
Pour oil into a 10-inch cast iron skillet (or use a deep-fryer), and heat to 375°. Drop batter by heaping tablespoonfuls into oil. Fry in batches 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and serve immediately.