The author of 1877 Cookbook Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping included meal suggestions. A spring breakfast meal suggestion is: fried ham; Graham bread: fried mush; scrambled eggs; radishes; potatoes boiled in jackets; coffee; tea; and chocolate. What time would you have to get up?!? 😊
The cookbook includes recipes for some of these. Today I’m sharing one for corn mush from Mrs. W.W. Woods, the 1877 cook.
Mrs. Woods gave no ingredient measurements so I looked at a few modern recipes to give me an idea how much water to boil.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray cooking spray or grease a skillet or loaf pan.
Boil 3 cups of water in a large saucepan. Stir in ½ teaspoon of salt.
A LITTLE BIT AT A TIME, add 1 cup of cornmeal to the boiling water. Prevent lumps by sifting the cornmeal through your fingers. Stir constantly over medium high heat until all the cornmeal is added.
Remove from the burner. Because it’s difficult to boil the mush thoroughly enough to cook it without scorching, Mrs. Woods put her kettle directly into the oven and baked it for an hour. Since she recommended stirring the mixture using a 2-foot paddle with a 2-inch blade that was 7 inches long, it’s safe to say she made huge batches at a time. My “paddle” was an ordinary wooden spoon! 😊
I transferred the mush to a sectioned-skillet for baking and it still took about an hour. I then chilled it in the fridge for frying later. (Baking and chilling the mush in a loaf pan makes it easier to slice for frying.)
Once chilled, beat 2-3 eggs in one bowl. Bread crumbs should go in a different bowl.
While the Crisco or lard heats, dip the mush slices into the egg mixture and then the bread crumbs. Fry until golden brown.
I enjoyed the baked corn mush as a nice side dish. The fried mush was delicious—I liked it better than I imagined I would. Frying the mush enhanced the flavor. I liked it both baked and fried. To save the calories, I’d eat it baked.
-Sandra Merville Hart
Compiled from Original Recipes. Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping, Applewood Books, 1877.