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Ellen's hot water corn bread

1 cup cornmeal

1 teaspoon salt

Pinch baking powder

1 teaspoon white sugar (see note)

1 egg

1 tablespoon shortening

3/4 cup boiling water

1 teaspoon butter

Vegetable oil or bacon fat, for frying

Makes 12 servings.

In a medium-size bowl, combine cornmeal, salt, baking powder, sugar and egg. Add shortening. While constantly stirring, slowly add boiling water until shortening melts, and the batter turns thick enough to drop by spoonfuls. Add butter and stir until incorporated. Pour vegetable oil or bacon fat to a depth of 1/2 inch in a large skillet and heat to 375 degrees. (Measure the temperature with a candy or deep-fry thermometer.) Place heaping tablespoons of the cornmeal mixture into the hot oil. Fry, turning once, until crisp and light golden brown on both sides. (Total cooking time is about 5 minutes.) Repeat until all cornmeal mixture is cooked. Drain on paper towels and serve hot.

Note: Cooks who like sweeter corn bread may be tempted to add more sugar. Resist the urge; too much sugar will cause the dough to turn runny, like funnel cake, in the hot oil.

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