Tennessee Fried Corn (or Creamed Corn, to You Non-Tennesseans)

Marked “Yummy!” by an unknown previous owner of my copy of The Nashville Cookbook: Specialties of the Cumberland Region, this fried corn recipe just looked appealing. And it turned out to be worth trying. I made it on my six-hour cooking marathon on the Fourth of July — it takes a little time, but it’s worth it!

My mom saw the cookbook when she stopped by to bring me some veggies, and remarked, “Oh! That’s Callie Lillie Owen’s recipe!  She’s a cousin on the Sneed side.” When you’re family’s been in Nashville for over 200 years, it seems that everybody’s a cousin on the Sneed side. Or the Williams side. Or my husband’s side (I remarked to him one day that, statistically, since both our families were in Nashville by the early 1800’s, there is a great probability that we’re somehow, somewhere, related. He didn’t like that idea).

But anyway! Here’s Callie Lillie Owen’s recipe for Tennessee Fried Corn (a.k.a. Creamed Corn).  In the cookbook, we are informed that this is “cream style fresh roastin’ ears, not really fried, but called so by most middle Tennesseans.”

Tennessee Fried Corn

  • 2 cups (6-8 ears) fresh corn
  • 5 Tbsp. butter and bacon drippings, mixed
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 c. water for each cup corn (PLEASE SEE MY NOTE AT THE END OF THE RECIPE!!)

Select corn with full, round, milky kernels. Remove shucks and silks. Cut tips of kernels from ears of corn; scrape with edge of knife to remove all milky portion remaining on cob [don’t get too obsessive with this — just do it quickly or you’ll be standing there all evening. It doesn’t have to be precise].  Heat fat in skillet.  Add corn, seasonings, and water, stirring constantly for about two minutes to heat through.  Lower heat and cook, stirring frequently, until corn is thickened and color almost transparent (about 15-20 minutes).

IMPORTANT NOTE: The recipe calls for too much water (I think it may be some sort of misprint in the cookbook).  It will never thicken adequately with a full cup of water in it (take my word for this), so add water gradually until you think it looks about right (you can always add some more if you need to).  I mean, don’t get me wrong, it will still be edible and tasty if you use all the water, but you’ll have a puddle on your plate.  My guess after making it (as yet unverified) is that it probably wants only about 1/2-3/4 c. water total, instead of 1/2 cup per cup of corn.  But y’all update me when you try it!

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About Charity

I have an inexcusable number of cookbooks (and like to experiment with them), have worked in architectural antiques, and have been sewing most of my life. I hold a Bachelor of Science in Textiles & Apparel and Fashion Merchandising from Lipscomb University, and I am currently pursuing my M.S. in Historic/Cultural Dress and Textiles at the University of Georgia. Doing household things (except for cleaning!) and hunting for antiques are my favorite pastimes.
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3 Responses to Tennessee Fried Corn (or Creamed Corn, to You Non-Tennesseans)

  1. Jade says:

    Oh, Charity, this simply isn’t fair!! 😦

  2. Tiffany says:

    Interesting… I’ve always used a combination of flour and warm water for thickening. And yeah, I definitely get too obsessed with scraping out the milky part of the bottom of the kernels.

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