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Cornmeal Mush

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Boilermaker View Drop Down
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    Posted: 07 August 2010 at 17:07

One of the oldest frontier foods, cornmeal mush ranks right up there with beef jerky and pemmican for foods that were common and had some nutritional value. Cornmeal mush is a type of porridge made with cornmeal, eaten not only for breakfast, but as an economical side dish. It has been around, in one form or another, since corn has been growing in the Americas.

Cornmeal mush is simple to make, needing only yellow cornmeal and water. Both the Confederate and Union armies traveled on cornmeal mush from time to time during the American Civil War, when supplies were scarce, or the cooks didn’t have enough time to prepare any other kind of hot meals. The soldiers themselves also cooked it over their bivouac fires and the concoction carried them many miles when little other food was available.

American frontier travelers also relied on cornmeal mush, since cornmeal was relatively easy to find, as well as cheap to eat. It was well known in the East as being a food primarily eaten by lower income people, but on the frontier, one ate what was available or one starved. No doubt, cornmeal mush saved the lives of many American pioneers.

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-cornmeal-mush.htm


Mrs. Andy and I both grew up eating mush.  Here is my recipe for it, I made some last weekend and took pics but have been too busy to post them until now.  I usually make this in the crockpot because I'm lazy instead of cooking it on the stove but either way is fine. 

My grandmother used to make a version of this with pork called "pon haus"  To do that variation take a pork shoulder and simmer it until tender.   Remove it and reserve the broth, add some sage to the broth and then use it to make the mush, chop the pork finely and add it to the mush mixture, cook, chill until set, then slice and fry.

The key is to mix the cornmeal with the cold water first before adding the hot water otherwise you will get lumps.  If using the crockpot I mix the cornmeal, cold water, and salt in the crockpot and then add the boiling water while stirring well to avoid any possibility of lumps.  I start it in high and then once it gets going good I turn it down and let it cook for 4 or 5 hours stirring occasionally so it doesn't stick on the bottom and then pour it into a greased loaf pan and put it in the fridge overnight to set up.  The stovetop method works just as well but I cook it longer than 10 minutes when doing it on the stove.

Great when fried in butter/oil or bacon fat and served with maple syrup.  Mrs. Andy and I have been eating this since we were little kids.

Ingredients
2 cups cornmeal
2 cups cold water
6 cups boiling water
2 teaspoons salt
Dusting flour
Oil for frying

Mix cornmeal and cold water; set aside. Bring 6 cups of water to boil, then add salt. Add the cornmeal mixture. Bring back to a boil, stirring constantly. Cover and cook slowly for 10 minutes. Pour into greased loaf pan and chill until set. Makes 1 loaf. Slice thin and dust with flour. Heat oil and fry the slices until crisp. Serve with syrup.


Here's the goods...




Cornmeal and salt added to Crockpot...



add 2 cups of cold water and stir well...



add 6 cups of boiling water whilst stirring well...



once it get going well in the slow cooker I turn the heat down and let it cook for several hours then pour into greased loaf pans, I used two this time but one really works better, put into the fridge until it is chilled and set...



slice, dust in flour, and fry until crispy, I used bacon fat...



looking good...



we serve it with butter and syrup but Rivet has suggested honey or molasses, that would be good too...





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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 August 2010 at 17:54

Good grief, I Love cornmeal mush- 'specially when fried in bacon fat! (My favorite has some bits of cracklins in it too) Thanks for posting such a great down home recipe, Andy....these things need to be kept up so folks won't forget them and how good and tasty they are. Ever had leftover mush and tomato sandwiches? Good grief they were good......

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Boilermaker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 August 2010 at 18:04
Originally posted by Rivet Rivet wrote:

 Ever had leftover mush and tomato sandwiches? Good grief they were good......



Now we're talking!  I haven't but I will soon, that sounds fantastic!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 August 2010 at 18:23
You've got to have one! Plain cheap white bread, leftover mush slices, sliced fresh garden tomatoes, salt and pepper and DUKES mayonnaise - no other will do. Dukes is THE mayonnaise, if you're going to eat mayonnaise.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Boilermaker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 August 2010 at 18:53
Hey Dukes is what we eat!  You need some?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 August 2010 at 19:01

This is from WIKI, but it is standard gospel back home 'cause everyone eats Duke's!~

Duke's Mayonnaise is a popular product in the southeastern United States and an integral part of regional favorites such as tomato sandwiches, cole slaw, and potato salad. It was created by Mrs. Eugenia Duke of Greenville, South Carolina, in 1917. Since its creation Duke's has never changed the original recipe. The product is unique among similar condiments in that it is completely natural and contains no sugar. As such, many southern cooks and chefs use only Duke's in their kitchens as it offers a more traditional, less sweet taste than other mayos.

C.F. Sauer Company purchased the Duke's Products in 1929.

So, there you have it!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Melissa Mead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 August 2010 at 19:20
That looks delicious! So what's the difference between mush, grits and polenta? 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 August 2010 at 06:47
The only difference between corn meal mush and polenta is the language...same stuff. Grits, however are kernels of maize that have been soaked in a lime solution, and are known as hominy. Cooking wise, they all react similarly although I find grits need a lot more flavoring added to make them palatable than corn meal does.

The other difference is if you're ordering at a restaurant...corn meal mush is down home cheap food. If they call it polenta, it's the same stuff, but they get to charge you $12.99 for it.Wink
Go ahead...play with your food!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 August 2010 at 07:45
hey, andy - that's a great post and i sure appreciate your taking the time to do it! definitely down-home eating and i'd like to give it a try.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Melissa Mead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 August 2010 at 08:30
Originally posted by Hoser Hoser wrote:

The only difference between corn meal mush and polenta is the language...same stuff. Grits, however are kernels of maize that have been soaked in a lime solution, and are known as hominy. Cooking wise, they all react similarly although I find grits need a lot more flavoring added to make them palatable than corn meal does.

The other difference is if you're ordering at a restaurant...corn meal mush is down home cheap food. If they call it polenta, it's the same stuff, but they get to charge you $12.99 for it.Wink


No wonder that looks so good. I had polenta once, and I loved it. I think I prefer mush, though. ;)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 April 2011 at 18:49
Andy, since I'm gonna be needing some bacon coming up next week and still have a bit of your cornmeal leftover, looks like this is whats going to be happening around here. Looking forward to it, really am, thanks for the cornmeal~ All out of the Duke's you sent, but then we have no garden tomatoes for a couple months either, so no worries! 
 
Thanks for reminding us of the recipe, too.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 April 2011 at 15:32
Originally posted by Hoser Hoser wrote:

 ......Grits, however are kernels of maize that have been soaked in a lime solution, and are known as hominy. Cooking wise, they all react similarly although I find grits need a lot more flavoring added to make them palatable than corn meal does......
 
Dave, your comments (all true) reminded me of a scene in one of my all-time favourite movies MY COUSIN VINNY. It's a fabulous comedy with Joe Pesci, Marissa Tomei and Ralph Macchio. Special, EXTRA SPECIAL mention for his role as the courtroom's judge, is Fred Gwynne (who played Herman Munster back in the 1960's series, "The Munsters"). I think he stoled the movie, completely ran away with it, he was that good!
 
By the way, Marissa Tomei won an Oscar (Best Supporting Actress) for her role in the film.
 
Anyway, These two kids are busted way down in the deep South and Joe Pesci (their cousin, a two-bit, mail-order-type-school lawyer) comes down from New York City to defend them. As soon as he arrives in town, there is a diner scene where he is first introduced to "grits".
 
Beautifully done, a wonderful scene of two New Yaw-kah's discovering Southern Grits.
 
Joe Pesci, playing the character of the cousin "Vinny Gambini" asks "what's a grit?" it all takes off from there!
 
If you get a chance, take a watch at this classic comedy with a wonderful ending.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Boilermaker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 April 2011 at 19:11
John,

I'll send you some more Duke's, I've got some Marsala, tomatoes, and anchovies here for Ron that I need to get out as well, I'm really behind on stuff.  I'll toss in some more cornmeal, too.  Glad yer makin' some mush! Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 April 2011 at 13:50
Originally posted by Boilermaker Boilermaker wrote:

John,

I'll send you some more Duke's, I've got some Marsala, tomatoes, and anchovies here for Ron that I need to get out as well, I'm really behind on stuff.  I'll toss in some more cornmeal, too.  Glad yer makin' some mush! Thumbs Up
 
Well, thank you much buddy! I've been collecting some tinned fishes for you over here. Unbelievable as it might sound, the price of those Riga sprats has actually come down a bit! What did you think of the saury? I found a couple more different brands of it, too.
 
Yep, the mush will probably be later this coming week, and I'll be adding some crisped up bacon bits to it~ just the way I love it. Sure do wish I had some fresh tomaters though.....I do have the gardening bug hard right now! Won't be putting in the seedlings for another 2 weeks.
 
No worries, though, I do have molasses (the wonderful Georgia honey you sent is LONG gone!) and will feature another mush post to dovetail with this wonderful one of yours.
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