Iowa’s Fried Cornmeal Mush Sticks

My parents came from the Midwest and the South, so it’s fair to say that some of my earliest food memories stem from that influence. I grew up on fried green tomatoes (it’s a real thing, not just a movie title), okra, and all things pickled just to make a few. But here in the Pacific Northwest, it’s not so easy to find that on a restaurant menu, so I’ve had to learn to make my own recreations. Challenge accepted!

Today is National Iowa Day celebrating all things from our 29th state, also nicknamed The Hawkeye State. It’s been listed as one of the safest states to live in and was once part of French Louisiana before the Louisiana Purchase. Iowa still bears some of it’s French roots today, such as the name of their Capitol, Des Moines. Iowa also has the dubious distinction of being the birthplace of my mom.

When I was researching popular Iowa fare for this post, none of the foods seemed overly familiar. That is until I came across an old magazine clipping of recipes dated January 1944, The Kitchen Klatter. At the top of the page was a recipe for fried cornmeal mush and I was immediately transported back to my childhood and into my grandmothers kitchen. I hadn’t thought about it in years, but it was a regular weekend dish at her house. Crispy. Creamy inside. Covered in maple syrup and powdered sugar. Delicious.

I hope you give this a try! It’s a nice alternative to pancakes, gluten free too! And the walk down memory lane was an added bonus for me ♥️

Fried Cornmeal Mush

3 cups water

1 cup milk

1 cup medium grind yellow cornmeal

1 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. In a small bowl, mix remaining ingredients together and then quickly whisk into boiling water. Bring back to a boil, reducing heat to medium low. Stir continuously for 15 minutes while it cooks. Remove from heat and pour into a greased 9×5” loaf pan. Allow to FULLY cool at room temperature uncovered. Lay plastic wrap on top of cooled cornmeal in pan. Refrigerate overnight. When ready to fry, remove molded cornmeal from pan and slice. Heat a frying pan with 2 Tbsp of butter and fry slices to a crispy brown. Serve with maple syrup and powdered sugar.

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