30 September 2007


I just came in from a long walk. You can tell it's Fall. People are starting to cook again. Someone was roasting pork a block from here, and at the same time, I could smell frying bacon, and a memory came to me...

About every other Sunday morning, Tom used to make a big breakfast for us. It was usually of fried potatoes with onion, sausage, bacon, scrambled eggs, and pancakes. About a year into our marriage...it was a Saturday night, and I heard him out in the kitchen banging pots.

"You gonna make popcorn?"
"Nope. Corn Mush."
"Corn Mush?"
"Yeah. Where do you keep the bread pans?"
"You're making hot cereal. Why do you need bread pans?"
"To set the corn mush. We're having Fried Corn Mush for breakfast tomorrow."

Sure enough, he boiled up some corn grits, and spooned them into a greased bread pan, covered it, and set in the fridge overnight. And in the morning, he sliced it, and fried it in bacon grease. He had his with a couple of over-easy eggs on top, and sausage patties on the side.

The reason I'm telling you this part, is because after one bite, I knew it need molasses. I just knew it would be perfect that way. And sure enough, memories of eating fried corn mush came pouring out of my Brer Rabbit bottle. My mom used to make this! When did she stop? Why?

Fried Corn Mush is an inexpensive breakfast, and it can be eaten sweet or salty, as the main dish or the side. I prefer it fried in butter, and drizzled with molasses, but lots of folks like it with sausage and apples.

There's also a savory kind of corn mush my mother liked to make for frying that's very popular amongst the Pennsylvannia Dutch. It's called Scrapple.

Pennsylvania Dutch Scrapple

1 medium onion, chopped
1- 1/4 quarts water
1/2 pound finely chopped raw pork
1-1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 cup corn meal

1. Brown onion slowly in some sausage or bacon fat.
2. Add pork, seasoning and water.
3. Brink to boil, then turn down to simmer for 20 minutes
4. Add corn meal, and cook on lowest heat for one hour. Stirring frequently.
5. Spoon into a greased bread pan. Bang a couple of times to make sure there aren't any air bubbles.
6. Let set for overnight.

Cut in 1/2 inch slices, and fry in bacon/sausage fat until brown.


andrea said...

I was first introduced to American country cooking (biscuits and 'gravy') when helping build a deck in northern Idaho (but that's another story...). I think those rib-sticking breakfasts are necessary so you can go all day without eating again 'til mid-late afternoon. Love the climbing vine illustration.

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Ohhhhhhhhhhhh! It’s 5:00 a.m. and I’ve yet breakfasted. Your words are sending me into the kitchen. (Wish I had the makin’s for corn mush, or especially Pennsylvania Dutch Scrapple).

Rrramone said...

Please send me some. Yum. And I'll tell you how big my feet really are. ;-)

Anonymous said...

I shouldn't be commenting because this post is a foreign language to me. If I knew what "gits" or "corn meal" was it might make more sense. McDonalds for breakfast gives me heartburn! Love you illustrations :)

somewhere joe said...

mmmm I haven't had pennsy dutch scrapple in ever so long. I bought the ingredients today. Thanks for reminding me...

Mick said...

I feel badly for Anonymous and being unfamiliar with such food. At the same time, I feel somewhat sorry for myself ... I suppose it's my own fault for getting mixed up with that group of Australian beach bums some years back who had a penchant for alcohol. As they used to say in a parody of the old Foster's adverts: "Red stripe - it's Australian for Breakfast!"

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the compliment on my Blog. I really like the feel and words in your writing.

GPSOkie said...

Thanks for the flashback! My grandfather used to make fried corn mush so many years ago. I'd have mine with molasses (Grandma's brand, I think) or honey from some local farmer...the kind with the comb in the jar. I miss a lot of things about him, but I especially miss eating with him. Food was always different at my grandparent's home, but it was always wonderful.

tsduff said...

My dad loves grits. I always try to make it for him when he visits. I've never had scrapple - I always thought it was like spam or head cheese something like that. What a delightful surprise to find out what a good thing it is after all. Thanks for the recipe.

Lori Witzel said...

Darn it, now I'm drooling into my keyboard.

(*snork* for the word verif -- "izzmib" -- it figures Men In Black would be lurking near the scrapple.)

Anonymous said...

I meant "grits"! PLEASE tell me what that is ... and 'corn meal'.

Catnapping said...

Hi Anonymous! 'Grits' is cooked corn (i.e. maize) meal. Corn meal is a coarse "flour" made from ground corn.

The word itself comes from an old english word, grytta, meaning "coarse meal."

When it gets down to it, 'grits' is just another name for for polenta.

Anonymous said...

Thankyou! We call those "corn", "cornflour" and "polenta" Hhahhhaaaa.

Prozacville said...

Sounds like a perfect cholesterol buster.