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Jan 4, 2008 02:34 PM

Can you still buy packaged cornmeal mush?

I know I could make it from dry cornmeal, but I used to love the big rectangular loaves of pre-made cornmeal mush my mother used to buy and fry up with maple syrup. Funny, she was from Illinois, and this sounds more like a southern or northeastern specialty. Has anyone seen this in stores lately, and if so, in what state?

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  1. I have 2-3 local purveyors in N-E Ohio, though I remember Bob Evans used to offer it, but I don't see it on their corporate site.

    I'll keep looking and try to update my post.

    1. How do the round logs of ready made polenta compare?

      3 Replies
      1. re: paulj

        They're pretty much the same, unless they're the ones with weird herbs and sun-dried tomatoes and stuff in it.

        Where my mom lives (on the line between kansas and Oklahoma) those round logs aren't called polenta; they're called mush.

        I think when I was a kid you used to could get mush in a can, but I'm not sure it can be had anymore.

        1. re: revsharkie

          Trade Joes now sells the same thing, but a little softer, and white, calling it grits.

          1. re: paulj

            Trader Joe's also carries yellow polenta in a round log.

      2. In northeast Indiana, it's available at Walmart or Scotts (maybe Kroger, too). I see it in the deli section near the sausage, bacon, and hotdogs.

        Funny enough, growing up in southeast Georgia, I had never heard of such a thing. It was only after moving to Indiana and seeing it on a breakfast menu that I ever tried it.

        9 Replies
        1. re: alliedawn_98

          Oh, so it is a Midwest thing, no wonder my mother always bought it! That's interesting that the mentions were from Ohio and Indiana. I thought about the logs of polenta, but I don't think they would have the right consistency. Probably better to buy the cheap storebrand cornmeal, cook it and refrigerate it overnight in a loaf pan.

          1. re: Chowpatty

            It's definitely a Midwest thing - I find it in Meijer and Kroger here in Ohio. It's always near the butter and refrigerated english muffins. Love the stuff pan fried in a little bacon grease.

            1. re: Chowpatty

              I don't know what consistency you want, but the polenta logs certainly can be sliced and fried.

              1. re: Chowpatty

                It seems to go back to Pennsylvania Dutch, many of whom moved to Ohio and Indiana in the early to middle nineteenth century.

                Corn meal mush is essentially scrapple without the meat.

                My family of Pennsylvania Dutch ancestry ate fried mush topped with maple syrup or apple butter when I was a child in the 1940s in Ohio. This was hardly unique as the Mennonite Community Cookbook, first published in 1950, and Mennonite Country-Style Recipes and Kitchen Secrets, first published in 1987, both have recipes for fried mush with these toppings.

                1. re: Eldon Kreider

                  My mom fried left over oatmeal and cream of wheat - served with butter and sugar.

                  1. re: Eldon Kreider

                    Actually, Cornmeal mush in both porridge and fried forms are Native American in origin. This is a very popular dish that has been around for thousands of years. Cornmeal has always been one of the principal foods of a wide variety of Native American Tribes both in North, South and Central America.

                    1. re: Eldon Kreider

                      All due respect, I'm also of Pa Dutch ancestry and corn meal and scrapple could not be further apart from each other! Scrapple is filled with assorted 'meats', scrapple 'without the meat' is basically air! Mush is purely corn meal. They are two completely different things..

                      1. re: onoceanic

                        Every scrapple recipe I've ever seen is basically meats in mush. Scrapple without the mush would be head cheese or souse, which you can't really fry.

                        My mom also would refrigerate leftover mush, then slice and fry it (this was in Illinois). One night when I was about 9 she served that for supper, with honey on it. That night all three of us came down with the flu - VERY unpleasantly - and it was many years before I could tolerate either mush or honey...

                        1. re: Will Owen

                          What a clean and poetic synopsis in "meats in mush". That capsulizes the framework of most of our discussion of scrapple.

                          As to sliced fried leftover mush and honey, we had that too, though never coincident with influenza. The only time I got a similar childhood aversion to a product was a few slices of "strawberry pie" from a local Dennys/Shoneys type chain, with a red stained mattress to prove it.

                          Then one of my first jobs was at Shoneys, where I was forced to participate in the fabrication of such "pies", using a ladle to fill a frozen pie shell with a red glop from a 5 gallon bucket. No baking was required, just the application of a cover of Cool Whip, then chilling for slicing and service. I regret my infractions to humanity at that early period.

                          These days, I prefer meats in mush, especially with offal. Honey works there too...

                2. You can purchase from Dik Jaxon Products. In Ohio. They ship. Minimum 12 rolls. If you hear of anyone in Oregon who sells please advise as Dik Jaxon ships to Oregon and shipping expensive.

                  1. Wow....No, I'm just trying to get my head around just how freakin' LAZY someone would have to be to BUY cornmeal mush instead of simply MAKING it. One part cornmeal to four parts water...a dash of salt....boil, then cover and simmer for about ten minutes. Done! Putting your underwear on is more complicated and way more expensive. Some people have obviously never even been close to being actually "poor".

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Nemesis7293

                      I like to buy the cornmeal mush in the roll, slice it, oil it and grill it. I've attempted to grill homemade polenta but even after using less liquid it is still not firm enough for the grill.

                      1. re: Nemesis7293

                        Did you ever consider that many people who could make it but packaged much because it is convenience decision?

                        1. re: Kelli2006

                          bet Nemesis makes his own scrapple from scratch - for breakfast. :)

                          1. re: paulj

                            Only when he's gotten up early enough to kill a pig!

                            I used to scoff at such things as microwaveable pouches of frozen precooked brown rice, until I was asked if we could have some with supper, and the meal I was preparing was almost done. It's not only convenience, and certainly not simple laziness, but many of us find ourselves in time-binds, in my case with a spouse who is often not home until just before dinnertime.

                            1. re: Will Owen

                              Same here. I'm most likely to use packaged items like precooked rice, polenta, instant mashed potatoes, etc, when I've spent the last hour making a stew or other meat dish, and realize that I don't have a starch to go with it. I may still do a quick item from scratch - spaetzle, quick grits or corn meal, instant couscous - but warming a pouch of rice in the micro for 90 secs is appealing.

                              When Nemeis talks about being done in 10 minutes, he's either using quick grits, or the fine grind Quaker corn meal (degerminated enriched, etc), not a coarse 'polenta' grind or stone ground corn. Even quick grits are better cooked for 20 minutes.