Cornmeal Mush

Cornmeal Mush is an old fashioned meal item once popular in northern Indiana, and probably other places. Usually eaten for breakfast as the main course or a side. Pour syrup over it as it comes from the frying pan.


SMALL batch

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt (Salt is optional. Feel free to decrease amount or to skip salt altogether)
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter* (or butter substitute for dairy fee) — Optional

LARGE batch

  • 3 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 9 cups water
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon salt (Salt is optional. Feel free to decrease amount or to skip salt altogether)
  • 1-1/2 tablespoon butter* (or butter substitute for dairy fee) — Optional


  1. In a medium saucepan, heat water to boiling. Reduce heat to medium; stir in salt and cornmeal. Cook, stirring regularly, until mixture is thick.
  2. Spoon cornmeal mixture into a lightly greased 9×5 inch loaf pan (2 or 3 pans for large batch). Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  3. In the morning,  slice cornmeal mush into 1 inch wide slices. Cook in vegetable oil that covers the bottom of the pan (Alternate: use melted butter) until golden brown on both sides.

Culinary Tradition
USA (traditional)
My Rating (out of 5 stars)


You will find various theories for the origin of such a generic, simple, and popular food as fried cornmeal mush. A few notes follow:

  • One of the early foods enjoyed by early colonists and settlers to America was corn meal mush. The newcomers learned to make and eat this from the native American Indians. Indians had been grinding corn for centuries making all kinds of dishes.
  • Hot cereal was known for years in other parts of the world. It went under various names, as porridge, hasty pudding and lobiolly. Thus, during the decades of European settlement of America, mush made from cornmeal became the usual breakfast and supper dish. People served it with butter, maple syrup, milk, or meat drippings. Mush with drippings was the ancestor of today’s grits with red eye gravy or sausage gravy.
  • WW I poster for eating cornmeal mush
    WW I poster for eating cornmeal mush to promote the war effort

    In 1918, the US Food Administration circulated a poster to promote WWI-era food rationing that read “Little Americans. Do Your Bit. Eat Oatmeal – Corn meal mush – Hominy – other corn cereals – and rice with milk. Save the Wheat for our Soldiers. Leave Nothing On Your Plate.”

  • The breakfast staple even gets a mention in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie, which the family fries and eats alongside prairie-chicken hash.

  • Another version of Cornmeal Mush. This one is from “Blue and Grey Cookery” by Hugh and Judy Gowan, page 20.

    1 lb sausage
    3 cups water
    1 cup cornmeal
    2 teaspoons salt
    1/4 teaspoon pepper

    Brown the sausage in skillet and pour off the fat. Add 2 cups of water. Heat to boiling. Combine cornmeal, salt, pepper and remaining water. Add to the boiling liquid and stir constantly. Place on low heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir this frequently. Pour into a greased loaf pan and chill. Cut into 1/2 inch slices and fry in hot fat until brown.

  • It’s relatively difficult to follow fried mush back to its origins, given that the simple mixture of cornmeal and water doesn’t lend itself well to being a traceable, preserved recipe. Various parts of Africa and the Caribbean have their own versions of the starchy dish—Kenya has ugali, St. Croix has fungi—and America has seen corn pone, cornbread, spoonbread, and countless other cornmeal products. Most historians guess that the dish traveled over to America as a result of the slave trade. Abolitionist, Frederick Douglass, described the horrendous conditions under which slaves were kept: “Our corn meal mush, which was our only regular if not all-sufficing diet, when sufficiently cooled from the cooking, was placed in a large tray or trough.”

  • Jaxon, the most recognizable brand of cornmeal mush, linked the frugal staple to the Midwest. In 1896, Cyrus Jackson thought the cornmeal mush made by his wife, Theresa, could be quite popular in their hometown of Indianapolis. They started selling the product to local small groceries, and by 1924, the family business expanded to Dayton, Ohio, where the mush is still made today. Somewhere along the way, Amish and Mennonite communities in the region picked the dish up as their own, and where became very popular.


  1. SOURCES: 

Titanic Timeline — 100 years ago

Titanic, 1912
  • April 10, 1912 From 9:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m., passengers board the ship. Then at noon, the Titanic leaves the dock at Southampton, England for its maiden voyage. First stop is in Cherbourg, France, where the Titanic arrives at 6:30 p.m. and leaves at 8:10 p.m, heading to Queenstown, Ireland (now known as Cobh).
  • April 11, 1912 At 1:30 p.m., the Titanic leaves Queenstown and heads across the Atlantic for New York.
  • April 12-13, 1912 The Titanic continues on her journey as passengers enjoy life on the luxurious ship.
  • April 14, 1912 (9:20 p.m.) Captain Smith retires to his room.
  • April 14, 1912 (9:40 p.m.) The last of several warnings about icebergs is received in the wireless room. This warning never makes it to the bridge.
  • Left to Right: William McMaster Murdoch, Charles A. Bartlett, Henry Tingle Wilde and Captain Edward John Smith
    Left to Right: William McMaster Murdoch, Charles A. Bartlett, Henry Tingle Wilde and Captain Edward John Smith (see notes below)

    *First Officer Lieutenant William Murdoch, died with the Titanic.
    *Captain Charles A. Bartlet oversaw the outfitting of the Titanic’s for it’s maiden voyage, including the selection of her officers. He was not abord the Titanic when it sank.
    *Chief Officer Henry Tingle Wilde, died with the Titanic.
    *Captain Edward John Smith. This was likely his last command before retirement. He died with the Titanic.

  • April 14, 1912 (11:40 p.m.) The lookouts spot an iceberg directly in the path of the Titanic. First Officer Murdoch orders a hard starboard (left) turn, but the Titanic’s right side still scrapes the iceberg. Only 37 seconds passed between the sighting of the iceberg and hitting it. Historians do not agree on the exact maneuver ordered by Murdoch, nor the nature and extent of the collision with the berg.
  • April 15, 1912 (12:05 a.m.) Captain Smith orders the crew to prepare the lifeboats and get the passengers and crew up on deck. No “abandon ship” order is given in order to avoid panic and greater loss of life. The number of lifeboats are insufficient for the number of passengers and crew. Many passengers were apparently unaware of the seriousness of their position until all lifeboats had departed.
  • April 15, 1912 (12:45 a.m.) The first lifeboat is lowered into the freezing water.
  • April 15, 1912 (2:18 a.m.) The Titanic snaps in half. This point was vigorously disputed by historians until the Ballard’s 1985 expedition located the wreck at the bottom of the Atlantic, and obtained photographic evidence that the boat had broken into two pieces.
  • April 15, 1912 (2:20 a.m.) The Titanic sinks.
  • April 15, 1912 (4:10 a.m.) The Carpathia picks up the first of the survivors.
  • April 15, 1912 (8:30 a.m.) The Carpathia picks up survivors from the last lifeboat.
  • April 17, 1912 The Mackay-Bennett is the first of several ships to travel to the area where the Titanic sank to search for bodies.
  • April 18, 1912 The Carpathia arrives in New York with 705 survivors

The First Recorded Celebration of Christmas

The 1st Recorded Celebration of Christmas, by Dan Graves, MSL

from Christianity.COM

In a few days, it will be is Christmas day (Christ’s mass). But for the first 300 years of Christianity, it wasn’t so. When was Christmas first celebrated? In an old list of Roman bishops, compiled in A. D. 354 these words appear for A.D. 336: “25 Dec.: natus Christus in Betleem Judeae.” December 25th, Christ born in Bethlehem, Judea. This day, December 25, 336, is the first recorded celebration of Christmas.

For the first three hundred years of the church’s existence, birthdays were not given much emphasis–not even the birth of Christ. The day on which a saint died was considered more significant than his or her birth, as it ushered him or her into the kingdom of heaven. Christ’s baptism received more attention than his birthday in the January 6th feast of Epiphany.

No one knows for sure on what day Christ was born. Dionysus Exiguus, a sixth century monk, who was the first to date all of history from December 25th, the year of our Lord 1. Other traditions gave dates as early as mid-November or as late as March. How did Christmas come to be celebrated on December 25th? Cultures around the Mediterranean and across Europe observed feasts on or around December 25th, marking the winter solstice. The Jews had a festival of lights. Germans had a yule festival. Celtic legends connected the solstice with Balder, the Scandinavian sun god who was struck down by a mistletoe arrow. At the pagan festival of Saturnalia, Romans feasted and gave gifts to the poor. Drinking was closely connected with these pagan feasts. At some point, a Christian bishop may have adopted the day to keep his people from indulging in the old pagan festival.

Historian William J. Tighe offers a different view, however. When a consensus arose in the church to celebrate Christ’s conception on March 25th, it was reasonable to celebrate his birth nine months later.

Many of the pagan customs became associated with Christmas. Christian stories replaced the heathen tales, but the practices hung on. Candles continued to be lit. Kissing under the mistletoe remained common in Scandinavian countries. But over the years, gift exchanges became connected with the name of St. Nicholas, a real but legendary figure of 4th century Lycia (a province of Asia). A charitable man, he threw gifts into homes.

Around the thirteenth century, Christians added one of the most pleasant touches of all to Christmas celebration when they began to sing Christmas carols.

No one is sure just when the Christmas tree came into the picture. It originated in Germany. The 8th century English missionary, St. Boniface, Apostle to Germany, is supposed to have held up the evergreen as a symbol of the everlasting Christ. By the end of the sixteenth century, Christmas trees were common in Germany. Some say Luther cut the first, took it home, and decked it with candles to represent the stars. When the German court came to England, the Christmas tree came with them.

Puritans forbade Christmas, considering it too pagan. Governor Bradford actually threatened New Englanders with work, jail or fines if they were caught observing Christmas.

In 1843, in Victorian England, Charles Dickens published his novelette “A Christmas Carol.” It became one of the most popular short works of fiction ever penned. Although the book is more a work of sentiment than of Christianity, it captures something of the Christmas spirit. The tightfisted grump, Ebenezer Scrooge, who exclaimed “humbug!” at the mention of Christmas, is contrasted with generous merry-makers such as his nephew, Fred and with the struggling poor, symbolized by Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim. The book’s appeal to good works and charitable contributions virtually defines Christmas in English-speaking lands.

Whatever the ins and outs of Christmas, we are still unwrapping the gift of God’s Son–and what an incentive to generosity and joy that gift is!


  1. “Christmas.” Encyclopedia Americana. Chicago: Americana Corp., 1956.
  2. “Christmas.” Encyclopedia Britannica. 1967.
  3. “Christmas,” “Dionysius Exiguus,” and “Philocalian Calendar.” Cross, F. L. and Livingstone, E. A. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. Oxford, 1997.
  4. Hutchinson, Ruth and Adams, Ruth. Every Day’s a Holiday. New York: Harper, 1951.
  5. People’s Almanac. Edited by David Wallechinsky and Irving Wallace. Garden City, N. Y.: Doubleday, 1975.
  6. Veith, Gene Edward. “Why December 25?” World (December 10, 2005) p.32.
  7. Tighe, William J. “Calculating Christmas.” Touchstone, December, 2003.

Source:  Christianity.COM