Hush Puppy

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

hush puppy a small sausage-shaped fritter made from white cornmeal, milk, water, and chopped onion, fried in fat which has been used for frying fish (usually catfish). Its origins are obscure, but it seems to have originated in Florida before 1920. The name first appeared in print in 1918. According to legend it was devised by hunters, who would throw an occasional fritter to their hunting dogs to keep them quiet. However, public outdoor fish-frying sessions were common in Florida, and it is plausible to suppose that the hush puppy came into being at these, whether or not it owes its name to an ability to quieten hungry dogs. It is also, perhaps, the northernmost manifestation (though using cornmeal rather than black-eyed pea flour) of the fritters beloved of brazil, acarajé.