Corn Meal Mush

-South Central-, IL(Zone 6a)

When I was little...back in the mom would cook corn meal mush for breakfast. We would add butter and sugar, maybe some milk. Anyone out there ever had it? I saw a cooking show the other day and 'polenta' was cooked. Do you think they are the same? Your thoughts on this, please.

New York, NY(Zone 6b)

I would be interested in finding out the difference. Dad cooked cornmeal mush with either white or yellow cornmeal, (sometimes grits was substituted). As a treat, leftover mush was refrigerated and as it harded into shape it was sliced and fried and served for dinner or breakfast with syrup or red eye gravy. As I grew older, I was told the difference was the coarseness of the meal and also from where you came from. Both polenta served in fancy restaurants and cornmeal mush made at home are prepared the same. We asked Dad why we fried the mush and he said his family did it when he was a young boy in NC. it fed his 6 brothers and a sister before chores etc. Oh the memories!.

Lake Park, GA

Toriesmom...I was told that cornmeal mush and polenta are the same thing. Polenta is cut into little shapes, while the mush can be chilled and sliced to be fried. I was raised in the south, but never heard of mush until I met a man from Ohio who was making some. I ate it fried, and fell in love with it. You can chill cooked "grits" the same way..chill them then fry the slices after they are chilled and set.

New York, NY(Zone 6b)

Interesting. My dad was from the South and my mom was from Cleveland Ohio. Also my Grandmother put it in loaf pans until it was cold and then coated the slices in a batter to be fried maybe in butter or lard. It went well with ham or corned beef for breakfast. At that time we didn't worry about trans fats etc.

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

Grits in the south is most commonly ground white corn though it's ground from both white and yellow but polenta is always yellow corn. Polenta is not always served fried and is often served like grits would be, hot and creamy.

Cornmeal mush is usually ground yellow cornmeal that is corn more finely ground than grits. So cornmeal mush is finely ground yellow corn, polenta is less finely ground yellow corn and grits is usually (but not always) less finely ground white corn.

-South Central-, IL(Zone 6a)

Thanks, everyone! You've helped me by reinforcing what I 'expected' to be true.

Lake Park, GA

Torriesmom, You said it all when you said "oh, the memories". I have many good memories too. At least I know that I know how to survive eating the basics. I was told that Bob Evans Restaurants still serve fried mush. Hopefully they will continue.

Hemet, CA(Zone 9b)

My dad fried sausage meat drained it and put it in the warm corn meal mush. It could be eaten warm and soft of chilled sliced and fried either way it was so very good. Been thinking for years of making this again.

New York, NY(Zone 6b)

Can't forget the ham with the juices on the mush. Now I am getting hungry.

Missouri City, TX

Was only 4 or 5, but remember mush for supper, and fried with home churned butter &Log Cabin Maple syrup (when it still had real maple), for breakfast.

Maybe some hand cut (off the rind) bacon, and fresh milk from a neighbor's cow.

After breakfast, I would churn the cream into butter in a wide-mouth gallon jar - I would roll it back and forth on the floor. Took a while, but worked.

Seguin, TX(Zone 8b)

My mom would make mush for breakfast...still my favorite on a cold winter morning. We fried it up and put syrup and butter on it....yum!! Sometimes we would get sassafras tea with it...but those days are gone as my grandfather was the one who dug up the roots. Nice to see others who know what mush is, when I tell people they usually look at me funny.


New York, NY(Zone 6b)


Mifflintown, PA(Zone 6a)

I remember mush, my grandmother made it often. With milk and butter for breakfast. Fried for dinner,always with King syrup.

Columbus, OH

I'm Italian, and the first time I saw people put syrup on fried mush I was astounded, lol. It'd be like having syrup on a potato cake.

I've had both, and at least in my limited mush experience, polenta is a slightly less fine grind of corn meal. It's a less smooth texture. You can still slice it up and fry or (preferable, IMHO) grill it, but I like it with some gorgonzola. I like the cold, grilled polenta better than warm, which is like loose mashed potatoes. It is my understanding that you never eat mush that way, right?

Charlevoix, MI(Zone 4b)

Oh, I'm necro-posting! I love fried mush!! Fried in bacon grease and swimming in real maple syrup. MMM. My mom would make a double batch so that we had warm, soft (porridge-like) cornmeal mush on one day and the cold, sliced fried mush the next day. My kids (12 & 14) love it, and we do the same with leftover oatmeal.

*Almost* makes me wish for cold winter mornings... :)

Missouri City, TX

A cold morning sound great - right now - with our heat and dought.

Still remember fried mush, a pat of real home churned butter and fresh maple syrup from a neighbor in N. MN.

Sioux Falls, SD

I always remember reading about cornmeal mush in old books, but I've never tried it personally.

Torrance, CA

And here's a note from a city boy about corn meal mush:

Born and bred in Los Angeles of parent fro Lincoln, Ne and Chicago, Il - no farmers in the history of the family on either side. Mom was a really poor cook, but during and after the "Great Depression" (nuthin' great about it!) we fairly often enjoyed fried mush. To this day, my wife of 60 years who is a better cook than the best in the world, occasionally boils up a mess of mush, refrigerates it, and fries slices for breakfast with (real) butter and syrup or honey. Mmmm! Even our go0ourmet 120 lb German Shepherd, Nipper, loves it. As did our four kids and the 7 GSDs that preceded Nip over the years. Albers Corn Meal is a staple on our pantry shelves. We dine very well these days, with expensive and "sophisticated" dishes frequent fare, but fried mush and other "common" foods are delicious and always have a place on our table. No, we aren't rich - our home is a century old, 900 sq ft manson and our income small and limited. But with a cook like my June, fine foods simply follow!

-South Central-, IL(Zone 6a)

The thing about all these posts... my mom cooked what I know as corn meal mush in a pot like y0ou cook oatmeal or Cream of Wheat... Anybody else eat it like that?

New York, NY(Zone 6b)

Yes, we ate it like that as a hot cereal with butter just like grits. (Our leftovers were put in the refrigerator to harden, then sliced and browned in the pan along with vienna sausages, bacon or spam etc. I found that even as a child in the 50's, it had more flavor.)

Torrance, CA

Yes, we sometimes had mush as mush, too. Can't say I really cared for it that way = but then I wasn't too wild about oatmeal either.

Italians eat mush frequently, but they call it Polenta and its a side dish at dinner.

-South Central-, IL(Zone 6a)

PaulRobinson, you just answered my first question at the top of this thread!!!!! Thanks :)

Thank you, too, torriesmom

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