Hominy and Horsepower

Tonight I was reading to my daughter before bed. We’re closing in on the end of Little House in the Big Woods. I was reminded that the section on hulled corn–that delicious treat that takes three days to make–is actually in the chapter “The Wonderful Machine.” Hulled corn, I’ve learned, is hominy, which I never heard of before I moved to Kansas. It’s basically corn kernels without their hulls, right? I’ve put it in soups. Laura likes it with milk and sometimes they eat it for breakfast with honey. How do you like your hominy?

I’ll admit it: chapters with “wonderful” in the title are my least favorite. (See: “Wonderful Afternoon,” By the Shores of Silver Lake.) I’m not much for description of machinery. But reading out loud forces you to feel the shape of the words sliding past your mouth. I noticed a few things. Like the part of the machine they called the “horsepower” — four horses simply walking in a circle like spokes from a wheel. (Anyone else find it hilarious that vehicle strength is still described in terms of horsepower?) And Laura and Mary watched “with all their eyes.” If there’s a more beautifully simple phrase for a child’s visual awe, I have yet to hear it.


4 Responses to Hominy and Horsepower

  1. Dakotagirl says:

    Interesting note that grits, the Southern breakfast staple is made from hominy. Grits are basically dehydrated pulverized hominy that has water added back to it and then cooked. Very good with salt/pepper and some butter. Cheese grits are delicious.

  2. Dennis D. Picard says:

    We can get white hominy both dried and in cans in the Spanish section of our local supermarket. I like the hydrated/canned as a side dish with just a little butter and salt supper. The dehydrated I soak overnight like dried beans and have it for breakfast; sometimes with a little raw sugar. The first time I had hominy for breakfast was at Fort Niagara probably 25 years ago. Great stuff; I’m a big grits fan too and up until recently I’ve had to have Southern friends smuggle me in the real stuff. I don’t go for that instant stuff.

  3. Dakotagirl says:

    Dennis, Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, GA sells their stone ground, speckled heart grits online. I used to buy them when I worked there years ago. They are very good, but the dark specks took a litle getting used to. They are a little expensive, but very good.

    Here is a link to their online store.


  4. sgaissert says:

    “With all their eyes.” Wow — that is beautiful.

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