The Mysterious History of Hush Puppies.

Do you wonder about the origin of those southern bites of heaven known as hush puppies? We might be able to help.

Curious about an old recipe for Red Fish Bread we found in the Trinity Jubilee Cookbook, we went researching. And did not let us down. Turns out Red Fish Bread is an early name for Hush Puppies. It’s an interesting story:

Recipe for Red Fish Bread, original Hush Puppies
Romeo Govan, born into slavery in the late 1800’s, became known as a freed man for his culinary magic with Red Fish, a common fish in South Carolina rivers.

By the 1900’s, people came from far and wide to Romeo’s riverside frying ‘club’ near Bamberg, South Carolina. They came for his delectable servings of Red Fish and the few bits of cornmeal that he fried in the fish grease.

That cornbread became known as Red Fish Bread. And, while few outside of the fishing community have even heard of Red Fish today, fried balls of cornmeal have become a South Carolina staple. Countless kitchen and campfire cooks have evolved Romeo Govan’s original recipe to include a variety of seasonings such as onion, honey, even jalapeno (am I the only one who thinks Romeo Govan’s name and story belong in a Indie Grits indie flick?).

Trinity parishioner Doug Faunt was a mid-20th century camp fryer. It was his version of Red Fish Bread that appears in the Jubilee Cookbook . It’s a basic, lightly onion-ed recipe that even includes pre-cooking instructions for fireside frying. Check it out! We’re giving you a sneak peek below.

How did Red Fish Bread come to be called Hush Puppies? Now, that remains a mystery. But, please believe – you won’t want to waste these babies hushing your dogs!

And, don’t miss your chance for more classic southern recipes. Pre-order your copy of the limited-edition revival of the Trinity Jubilee Cookbook today. Pick it up on Oct. 20th at the Trinity Bazaar at Columbia’s Trinity Episcopal Cathedral.

We can get it to you after that if you can’t make it, but really, it’s our 70th anniversary so it’s going to be special. You can stop by for a minute ….

Douglas Faunt

  • 2c sifted corn meal
  • 1t salt
  • 2T flour
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1t soda
  • 1/4c onion, chopped
  • 1t baking powder
  • 1c clabber or buttermilk
  1. Sift all dry ingredients together into a bowl.
  2. Add onion, milk, and unbeaten eggs, and stir in all at once until meal mixture is thoroughly moistened.
  3. Drop by spoonfuls into the frying pan in which fish was fried.
  4. Cook until golden brown. If deep fat is used*, breads will float when done.
  5. Drain on paper.
  6. Serve with fried fresh fish.

METHODS USED TO TAKE ON FISHING TRIPS: Prepare and store in advance dry ingredients. In separate container, buttermilk and onion with it. These and 1 whole egg are mixed together for campfire cooking. Or, mix dry ingredients, without soda, plus 3T dried milk. When ready to cook, mix with chopped onion, 1 egg, and 1c water.

Used with permission of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral. 2018 Copyright Trinity Episcopal Cathedral.