Thursday, July 15, 2010

Making Mush

Staci at the Podunkian Post Gazette wrote a blog recently about corn meal mush. Just reading about it made me hungry for that old-time taste. I used to make mush regularly when my sons were little boys, and we all loved it. Staci made the mush as a hot cereal like cream of wheat, but the way we always ate it was fried.

After reading her post, I got out the corn meal and made a batch. I used 1 cup of corn meal to 3 cups of cold water. As Staci noted, it's best to add the meal to the cold water slowly, stirring ALL the time, so you don't get lumps. I had some nice stone-ground meal and it mixed up very well.

Next, cook and stir until the meal "plops." turn down the heat and continue stirring for about a minute or so, until the mixture is thick. How thick? Hmmm--about like oatmeal? I'd say that's about right. At this point I pour it into a greased loaf pan (I used cooking oil).

Then put it in the fridge and let it cool. It will thicken into a solid block that you can then turn out of the pan and slice. I prefer about a 1/2 thickness to each slice, but thinner is okay too.

Heat your pan of bacon grease or cooking oil (I used oil) until a drop of water hisses good, then add your slices to the pan. Fry to a golden brown on each side.

Some people like to eat their fried mush with maple syrup, and it's good that way. I like it best with fried eggs and sliced tomatoes. Guess what we had for dinner Sunday night?

Mush is a little tricky to fry. It's got a lot of sugar and starch content from the corn meal so it's sticky. A good hot cast iron skillet is essential, I think, for good results, and if you have a splatter lid so much the better because the water in the mush will pop a good bit. So be forewarned! But the end result is heavenly, no other word for it. Cheap, easy and quick to make--what's not to like?

Just for fun, here's a few corn stories:

The Origin of Corn is on a boy scout page. No attribution to the source of this tale is given.

The Story of the Corn Husk Doll is included on an intriguing site that discusses Thanksgiving from a Native American perspective and offers tools for teachers. Excellent site for thought-provoking information.

Tall tales of tall corn from a 1905 Ottawa newspaper can be found here.

Did you know there is a field of giant, people-sized ears of corn in Dublin, Ohio? Tis true!

Indian corn? Find out how it came to be on this website.

And some corn weatherlore:

Corn wears a heavier coat (husk) when the weather is warm and wet.

When corn fodder stands all dry and crisp, go on your outing, there's no great risk.

When corn fodder is limp, rain is coming.

If clouds rise in heaps of white, soon will the country of the corn priests be pierced with arrows of rain.
A change in the weather may be expected, if you see hogs carrying corn in their mouths.

When April blows his horn, 'Tis good for both hay and corn.
A dry March and a wet May fill the barns with corn and hay.
If Groundhog Day is clear, then corn and fruits will both be dear.
And of course, there are corn books:


Okay, is that enough corn for you?
Enjoy some on the cob while it's in season. That is the best corn of all.


TheresaandJay said...

I am trying really hard to think of something corny to say and coming up empty. I don't think I ever ate cornmeal mush. :)

Granny Sue said...

Next time you come to visit, then, Theresa, we'll make it. If you like cornbread, you'll like it :)

Char5 said...

That was a VERY CORNY post, Sue (heehee)! I loved all of the corn info links. I have never tried cornmeal mush, but I love garlic cheese grits. I will have to try out your recipe.

Twisted Fencepost said...

I have heard of corn mush all my life but never even seen it much less eaten it. I would love to try this!

Granny Sue said...

You're so funny, Charlotte! That's what I should have titled the post!

Granny Sue said...

I bet you'd love it, Becky. It's so good and the corn flavor is surprisingly strong, very like the flavor of a Frito, actually.

Susan at Stony River said...

Your way is exactly the way I grew up eating it - sliced and fried like scrapple LOL. In Ireland they'd picked up cooking polenta from their own neighbors, and it was much the same, so my kids have always eaten it too.

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