Fried Corn

Fried Corn

Jimmy crack corn, I don’t care,
Jimmy crack corn, I don’t care,
Jimmy crack corn, I don’t care,
Ole Massa gone away.

No one is certain about the origin of Jimmy Crack Corn but it was a minstrel tune that was likely borrowed from enslaved African American people made popular by Whites in the 1840’s. President Abraham Lincoln requested the song be performed just prior to the Gettysburg Address. The song seems to be about an enslaved man, Jimmy, who is tried yet acquitted for the murder of his master. The popularity of the song with African Americans in the 20th Century lies in the interpretation that due to the masters’ demise, Jimmy is free from his oppressor even if fleetingly and temporary. I learned the song as a child, probably from a Warner Bothers Bugs Bunny cartoon, but I did not know the contextual meaning until now. The last line I would sing was “my horse has run away” instead of “ole massa gone away.” How appalling I was exposed to this song in children’s cartoons and, likely, in school. Jimmy Crack Corn is probably a reference to corn liquor. I cannot attest to the merits of the beverage, but I can claim with authority the joy that Fried Corn can bring.

I am reading one of a very few written accounts of African enslaved life in the 18th and 19th centuries. Mary Prince was the first enslaved woman to petition Parliament for her freedom. Mary describes the horror treatment under one of her masters:

I was immediately sent to work in the salt water with the rest of the slaves. I was given a half barrel and a shovel, and had to stand up to my knees in the water, from four o’clock in the morning till nine, when we were given some Indian corn boiled in water.

We were then called again to our tasks, and worked through the heat of the day; the sun flaming upon our heads like fire, and raising salt blisters in those parts which were not completely covered. Our feet and legs, from standing in the salt water for so many hours, soon became full of dreadful boils, which eat down in some cases to the bone.

We came home at twelve; ate our corn soup as fast as we could, and went back to our employment till dark at night. We slept in a long shed, divided into narrow slips. Boards fixed upon stakes driven into the ground, without mat or covering, were our only beds.” 

Indian Corn, or Corn remains an integral part of the African American Heritage Diet. Fried Corn is prepared by cutting the kernels off of the cob and then adding milk, seasonings and flour, never sugar. Fresh corn off the cob, like all fresh vegetables, is naturally sweet. A quick Guaymas Shrimp would be great with this dish and a nice Kale Salad.

Fried Corn

Better than creamed corn and even on the cob, Fried Corn is deliciously sauteed with flour, seasonings and milk.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine African American, American
Servings 6 people

Equipment

  • Medium to Large Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Large Frying Pan
  • Wooden Spoon

Ingredients
  

  • 4 Cups Fresh Organic Corn Equivalent to 5 to 6 Ears of Corn
  • 3 tbsp Butter Vegan: Earth Balance Buttery Spread
  • 2 tbsp Flour
  • ¾ cup Organic Milk Vegan: Unsweetened Hemp Milk
  • tsp Jane's Krazy Mixed-Up Salt
  • ½ tsp Redmond's Real Salt
  • ¼ tsp White Pepper Black Pepper is fine if you don't have white

Instructions
 

  • Shuck and wash corn cobs paying attention to removal of the silk.
  • Remove corn from cob by cutting off the end and standing the cob up perpendicular to the cutting board. Slice downward to release kernels. Set aside.
  • Add butter to pan on medium heat.
  • Once butter is melted add in corn, flour and seasonings, stirring constantly.
  • Add milk then stir making sure the flour completely dissolves into the liquid without lumping.
  • Reduce heat to low, stir frequently to ensure the corn does not stick to the pan.
  • Cook for about 20 minutes and serve.
Keyword 30 Minute Meals, African American Cuisine, Plant Based, Soul Food, Southern Cooking, Southern Cuisine, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian



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