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Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Hankering for Hush Puppies

Posted July 26, 2006

It hits hard at least twice a year: a hankering for hush puppies. Yes, I know they're not particularly good for my diet but in moderation they can be one of the most satisfying comfort foods around. The WRAL morning crew was fixated on the topic today. We work up quite an appetite reporting all that news. First, some background. Hush puppies are made with cornmeal, flour, eggs and sugar. Some restaurants add a little onion or sweet milk. You drop dollops of the batter into hot fat and fry to a golden brown. How did they get their name? Chefs tossed balls of fried batter to silence the dogs waiting for kitchen scraps. I have found the best hush puppies at restaurants that put them on the table before you've ordered your main meal. They're proud of their product and they want you to get in the mood for a great seafood or barbecue entree. I surveyed the morning crew to on the best hush puppies around. The most enthusiastic reponse came from Valonda Calloway. She says the hushpuppies at The Ark in Jacksonville, NC are round, soft and always hot and "the best I've ever had." Valonda also says Arnolds Restaurant in her hometown of Richlands serves up a mean puppy. Mark Roberts has two favorite hush puppy destinations in the Triangle: Skipper's Seafood in Wake Forest and the seafood restaurant at the State Farmer's Market in Raleigh. Lynda Loveland is partial to the hush puppies at the Q-Shack in North Hills. My favorite place is Jones' Seafood House on Oak Island or Long Beach as they used to call it. Break out the butter and bathe that puppy! Elizabeth Gardner says she doesn't like hush puppies or doughnuts for that matter. So where do you go to get the best hush puppy of your life? Maybe it's so good even Elizabeth would like it.
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