History of Hushpuppies
The origin of hushpuppies are a little murky. Some say a group of French Ursuline nuns created the first batch in New Orleans around 1727. They called them "croquettes de maise", literally, a "small roll of corn." Others say the Native Americans were making hushpuppies long before - Cherokee, Choctaw, and other Southern tribes had many versions of corn-based delicacies, some fried. I tend to believe they originated right here in the South, courtesy of our Native ancestors. 'Course, that might be my own bias showing - but I've never had French food that holds a candle to our own treasured Southern cuisine!
The first recorded use of the word "hush-puppy" dates to 1899. Popular lore says hunters, fishermen, and Confederate soldiers are said to have tossed fried cornbread to "hush the dogs's barking." I love the language used by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (the Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Yearling) in her iconic cookbook Cross Creek Cookery. This is a woman after my own heart!
Hush-puppies [sic] are in a class by themselves. They are concomitant of the hunt, above all of the fishing trip. Fresh-caught fish without hush-puppies are as man without woman, a beautiful woman without kindness, law without policemen. The story goes that they derived their name from old fishing and hunting expeditions, when the white folks ate to repletion, the Negro help ate beyond repletion, and the hunting dogs, already fed, smelled the delectable odors of human rations and howled for the things the remaining cornmeal patties to the dogs, calling, “Hush, puppies!” —and the dogs, devouring them, could ask no more of life, and hushed.
Want to learn more? This is a great article!