Written by Jessie Hazard
Hushpuppies and Other Tales
Boston has brown bread. San Francisco has sourdough. But head out for fried seafood in the South, and chances are the breadbasket will be filled with hushpuppies. The name has prompted many a theory of its origin, but they’re almost all wrong. The most commonly held myth is that fishermen once threw bits of extra dough from the fish they were frying to quiet their hungry dogs. But as far back as the eighteenth century, the then- British phrase “playing hush-puppy” meant silencing someone or covering something up. The term eventually found its way to America and the meaning shifted to food that quieted the growls of an empty stomach. While the classic is a simple cornmeal fritter, there are myriad riffs. Take Ricky Moore’s trademarked Hush-Honeys. The chef of Saltbox Seafood Joint in Durham, North Carolina, drizzles his puppies with honey before serving them to eager devotees. Across town, Amy Tornquist of Watts Grocery works hushpuppy magic with farmer’s cheese and basil mayo. Try these at home—but don’t let the dogs get to them first.