Valentine’s Day and Some Culinary Black History

It was a sugar-sweet fueled day at NECAT this Valentine’s Day, starting with a breakfast spread that included mini pancakes, a hot chocolate bar, and homemade cookies.  

Students later enjoyed a demonstration from Chef Instructors Tiara Andress and Chris Faison who made a sweet version of hush puppies – filled with chocolate chips and topped with strawberries and toasted marshmallows.  

Hush puppies are typically savory deep-fried balls of corn batter. There are a few different origin stories for how these fritters got the name “Hush Puppy,” but some trace the term back to Black Southern slaves who would fry up the cornmeal mixture to feed to the slave masters’ dogs to “hush the puppies” when they needed them to be quieted.  

What is certain is that hush puppies are a staple of Black Southern American cooking and can often be found as a side dish for communal meals like fish fries and BBQs. For Chef Andress, a native-Mississippian, hush puppies have always been a part of her cuisine and she wanted to share this sweet treat with students as an example of Black American cuisine.