Hush puppies have been a deep fried favorite in the South since the 16th century. They trace their roots back to Louisiana, but the story about how they got their name is a bit foggy. Legend has it that a group of Ursuline nuns in Louisiana converted cornmeal into a fried treat they named “croquettes de maise.”
That name most likely wasn’t going to stick, so someone somewhere along the way must have coined the name “hush puppy” for them. Some say that an African cook in Atlanta named this deep-fried delight. Apparently while she was frying a batch of catfish and croquettes, a nearby hound began to howl. To keep the dog quiet, the woman gave the dog a batch of her croquettes and said, “hush puppy!” And the name just stuck.
There is another tale of how Civil War Confederate soldiers would toss their yapping dogs these cornmeal treats while preparing their food when they detected Yankee soldiers approaching with the command, “hush puppies!”
However they got their name, there is no denying that hush puppies have become a staple side dish for any seafood platter. Enjoy hush puppies in downtown Charleston at the Crab House, Hyman’s, Amen Street, Fleet Landing and Coast – just to name a few.
Hush puppy recipes vary. All are made with cornmeal but vary in such ingredients as onions, bacon grease, peppers and even hot sauce. Use tartar sauce for dipping or spread on some butter to enjoy that real Southern flavor. Hush puppies are a Charleston favorite and popular appetizer dish at every restaurant. Come and try some for yourself!