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Eating While Poor, St. Augustine, Florida

Eating While Poor, St. Augustine, Florida

 Zora Neale Hurston, Courtesy of Library of Congress

Zora Neale Hurston, Courtesy of Library of Congress

Anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston had alot to say about food. In a November 1942 letter from St. Augustine, Florida to Henry Allen Moe, of most likely Harlem, New York, Hurston wrote that she had finished her book and had been enjoying Southern Florida food. As she puts it, “I am down here trying to polish up my book, write three plays and keep on eating.” Hurston's writings describe her constant search for affordable food. She like many during the Great Depression struggled to keep on eating while poor. 

Florida Fried Fish and Hush Puppies Recipe

Hush Puppies Recipe

1 cup cornmeal

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 small to medium onion, minced

1 egg

¼ cup milk or water

Serves 3 to 4

Mix together the dry ingredients and the finely cut onion.  Break in the egg and beat vigorously.  Add the liquid.  Form into small patties, round or finger shaped.  Drop in the deep smoking fat in which the fish has been fried until they are deep brown.  Serve hot and at once. (Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. Cross Creek Cookery, 1942)  

Fried Fish Recipe

Pan-broiled fish are good, but in backwoods Florida we have lusty tastes.  Small fish, we dress whole.  Large fish, we bone and fillet.  In any case, we like to dip them in salted cornmeal and drop them in deep, very hot fat.  The cornmeal makes a crisper crust than the more delicate flour, and we happen to like it.  With fried fish we serve hush-puppies, fried in the fish fat itself.  The combination may not appeal to the too delicate stomach, but I pray that this compendium of dishes shall not fall into the hands of any such, lest they perish either of disgust or frustration. (Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. Cross Creek Cookery, 1942) 

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