Squashy Homemade Hush Puppies
Dorcas Annette Walker
Since my husband loved to fish, I began experimenting with hush puppy recipes bringing back memories of when our family lived on Harker’s island off the North Carolina coastline accessed by crossing a drawbridge. It was during this time that my father’s one fishing trip involved the coast guard and entire area. While the memory remains forever etched in my mind, I called my sister to verify the details of this fishing expedition.
Even though my father was crippled due to having severe hemophilia, my dad was not one to sit idle. He bought a used boat and talked my younger sister and me into going for a trial run where the motor clonked out once we were a couple of miles off shore. My sister and I got the “privilege” of rowing back in. After several such trips my sister and I refused to go out anymore. Meanwhile my father had made friends with Doc, a crippled veteran. To my mother’s shock one sunny morning at breakfast my father announced that he and Doc were going fishing. He assured my mother that the motor was fixed and he would come to school to pick us up that afternoon like usual. When my father failed to show up after school we hitched a ride home. At that point my mother wasn’t too worried figuring that the fishing trip was taking longer than planned.
True to form the motor clonked out a couple miles from shore; the boat started drifting, and got snagged on a sandbar. My father managed to climb out of the boat and push them off barely getting back into the boat losing an oar in the process. Another currant drifted their small boat into the commercial fishing lane so they put Doc’s jacket on the top of their one oar to wave trying to attract attention. My dad admitted later that he was beginning to worry as the waves were rough and he knew if they drifted much further out into the ocean the boat would capsize.
After supper my mother called our pastor, who nearly went into cardiac arrest when he learned that my father and Doc had taken the boat out that day. Recent storms in the area had changed wave patterns making two cripples and a small skiff no match for the strong undertow. He phoned the coast guard, who went on full alert. Local fishermen joined the search when word went out that two crippled men were stranded in a small skiff. When darkness came all hope for a successful rescue was shattered. My mother was preparing herself to face the future as a widow when the phone rang. She nearly passed out when she heard my father’s voice asking her to come and pick him up. A current had finally drifted their boat back to one side of the island. My father never did understand what all the fuss was about, although the locals shook their heads for days afterwards.
My Squashy Homemade Hush Puppies resemble small biscuits, are finger-licking good, and can be made in an iron skillet over a campfire. This recipe is an excellent way to use up garden squash, but you can also make plain hush puppies by substituting milk in place of squash. Preparation time for my Squashy Homemade Hush Puppies is thirty minutes and this recipe makes fifteen.
Squashy Homemade Hush Puppies
1 c yellow cornmeal
1 c flour
2 c cooked and mashed squash
1 tb dried onion
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp lemon pepper
1 qt cooking oil (your choice)
In a medium-sized bowl mix together all the ingredients except for the cooking oil. Drop a tb of stiff batter into the cooking oil that has been heated until hot. Cook for five minutes on medium heat turning the hush puppies until they are golden brown. Using a slotted spoon remove the hush puppies from the oil and drain on paper towels. Serve hot!
Weekly tip: You can save and reuse cooking oil several times when cooking items that you deep fry!