October 15, 2011

Corn Pudding from Hilda Crockett's Chesapeake House



Last summer my husband and I took a trip to Tangier Island, Virginia ~ a small historic island in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay, 12 miles off shore and accessible only by boat or small airplane.  So why am I writing about a summer trip now, in the Fall?  Because I think this corn pudding dish we discovered while there is a perfect Thanksgiving side!  With Thanksgiving fast approaching, I figured now was a great time to share this find.

But before we get to the scrumptious corn pudding, let me tell you a little about this unique and interesting island. 

Approximately 500 people make 0.2 square-mile Tangier Island their home.  There are no cars (well, we saw two), no city sounds, no traffic lights, no rushing around, no chain restaurants.  There are narrow quaint streets, lots of marshes and seagrass, the beautiful sounds of boat engines and waves, a laid-back atmosphere, bicycles and golf carts for transportation, and crabs.  Lots of tasty crabs.  This quiet island is certainly not for everyone.  My husband and I? - we loved it.

To be honest, Mark was immediately comfortable on Tangier, but I was a bit apprehensive at first.  It took me a couple of days to settle into the island way.  But Tangier certainly grew on me.  It's not easy to describe the island, it's people, the Tangier way of life, or exactly why we loved it.  And I'm sure I won't even come close to doing it justice.  But here are a few snippets of Tangier life to give a tiny glimpse into this unique place.

Water & Quiet:
I think these pictures speak for themselves!


The beach ... in JULY!!  If you want a private beach, here you go.
How beautiful is that?  And a beach in July with nobody on it?  Not many other places you can find that!

There's an airport on the island, accessible for small aircraft - it's quiet, too.  Have you ever walked to the beach on an airstrip?  Well, Mark and I have!  That's how quiet the airport is.  You simply need just look up in the sky before embarking on your walk to the beach.  All clear?  Then go ahead!


Our feet on the airstrip, walking back from the beach


Super-Fresh Crab:
Crabbing is the way of life on Tangier.  In fact, Tangier is referred to as the soft shell crab capital of the world.  I had crab in some form or another for every meal while we were on Tangier.  I love crab, and could eat it every day.  I swear I could.

Thanks to Ooker, a local waterman and mayor of Tangier, we had the pleasure of visiting a crab shack and learning about the soft shell crabbing industry.  From what I could tell, being a waterman is tough work, but also a tradition and labor of love for the residents of Tangier.


Crab shacks

Tourism:
During the summer, a couple of ferry boats come to the island each day, allowing passengers to explore the island.  The tiny streets would bustle with activity for a few hours each mid-day while these short-time guests visited the island offerings. 

Ferry coming in

Golf carts (one of the island's modes of transportation) would buzz visitors around ...

Island transportation

... and then the visitors would board back on their ferry boats and the streets would return to their  'normal' quiet.


Quiet street

Unique Dialect:
One of the most intriguing experiences on Tangier Island was hearing the unusual accent of the residents. Because of centuries of relative isolation, the islanders still speak in a unique island way that is similar to the speech spoken when Tangier was settled in 1686. The accent is still strong enough that some people are not able to understand everything that is said.  I was one of these people.  After several days on Tangier I was getting much better at conversing with the residents, but I admit that I had to concentrate.  Many videos and documentaries have been made about the island, highlighting the unique island dialect, if you'd like to learn more.  I've included one brief video here - an ESPN commercial filmed on the island (this, and a couple of others, were actually filmed the week after we left the island) - so you can hear a bit of the dialect.


Hilda Crockett's Chesapeake House:
And, finally, let's talk about Hilda Crockett's Chesapeake House, one of the three inns on the island, and the only inn also serving lunch and dinner.  Family-style.  With lots of food.  Yummy home-cooking kinda food. 

John Crockett settled Tangier island in 1686.  Many of the inhabitants still have the surname Crockett - and I can only assume Hilda Crockett was descended from the island founder.  Hilda Crockett's Chesapeake House was started in 1939 by Hilda herself, and is now run by Denny and Glenna Crockett.

Thankfully, Hilda Crockett's Chesapeake House is willing to share it's recipes.  And, as you know if you're a frequent reader of this blog, I am a totally-obsessed recipe collector!  So, naturally, I gathered all the recipes I could while visiting Tangier.  I've made many of the dishes I learned about during our visit, and Hilda Crockett's Corn Pudding is one of my favorites.  I hope you enjoy it's smooth-and-creamy, sweet-and-tasty deliciousness as much as I do!  Thank you to Hilda and her family for graciously sharing her wonderfully scrumptious recipe.

(Visit Wikipedia to read more about Tangier Island.)



Corn Pudding
Source:  Adapted from Hilda Crockett's Chesapeake House, Tangier Island, Virginia

Ingredients
3 T. cornstarch
3/4 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 (14.75 oz.) can cream style corn
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
1/4 tsp. salt
2 T. butter, cut into small pieces


Directions
1.  In a bowl, combine the cornstarch and sugar with a whisk.  Add eggs and beat well.  Add corn and evaporated milk; mix well.

2.  Pour into a greased 1-1/2 quart casserole dish.  Dot with butter pieces.

3.  Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 1 hour, until set and golden brown.

Enjoy!


16 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for the story! I just love a recipe with entertainment! reminds me of my time on St Thomas, life changing indeed'

    and this is indeed a terrific recipe for the holidays... easily done in advance and warmupable!

    As always, thank you so much for submitting these holiday ideas to eRecipeCards.com. You have a tremendous body of work building!
    http://erecipecards.com/account/userrecipes.php?id=167

    Dave

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  2. Tracey, This recipe sounds great! Please visit my site auntnubbyskitchen.blogspot.com
    I would like to give you the Liebster Award. You can read about it there. Congratulations! Anita

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  3. This sounds so yummy...and perfect for Thanksgiving!

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  4. Visiting from Tasty Tuesday. This looks absolutely amazing. I am not cooking this Thanksgiving but will for sure try a different day :).

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  5. That looks so good! I need to try that out!

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  6. Your photos are wonderful. This corn pudding sounds wonderful and so easy. Thanks for sharing.

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  7. I just love corn pudding YUM!

    Thank you for linking up to Sharing Sundays.

    Ellen

    http://everydaysisters.blogspot.com

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  8. We love corn pudding... One of our friends makes it every year for our holiday party. I am hosting Easter this year and the definitely on the menu.

    Kristen
    www.chickyscafe.com

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  9. You have no idea how much it meant for me to find this recipe. My mom passed away this past summer. This was one of her favorite recipes to do at thanksgiving. When I went to look for the recipe I could not find it anywhere. I panicked. I came to pinterest but could not find anything like it. Then I typed in "corn pudding with evaporated milk" and I saw the name Hilda and almost cried. This is it. She even called it Hildas corn pudding. I have no idea where she got the recipe. I thought it was from a friend named Hilda, haha. I will continue to look for the one written in her handwriting but I'm thrilled to have found this and that I can again include it in our Thanksgiving meal. I had most of the ingredients right except I was thinking 3 eggs. Now it will be perfect. Thank you.

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    Replies
    1. I'm so sorry about the passing of your mother, Lindylu. I'm glad to hear that this recipe helped in continuing on a family tradition tied to great memories of your mom. Happy Thanksgiving to you ... and I truly hope you find that handwritten recipe! I know we all cherish those recipes handwritten by those we love.

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  10. I love Corn Pudding!!! I cannot wait to try this recipe out it looks absolutely amazing! I only wish that my hubby would enjoy it with me as well. Your pictures that you posted with this are gorgeous as well, looks like you had a lot of fun.

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  11. Can you believe, I never tried one? :) And it's crazy, because I love everything with corn in it!
    I would love if you share it with my fall themed party Big Autumn Bash:
    http://milaslittlethings.com/2014/10/big-autumn-bash-the-link-party.html

    xx
    Mila
    milaslittlethings.com
    milawayable@gmail.com

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  12. I raised my children in the Tidewater area of Virginia. My former husband's wife makes corn pudding and she will NOT share the recipe. (I like her anyway!) This recipe looks very much like what she prepares. I am going to give it a go this year at Thanksgiving. I am betting this one is just like her's. Thanks so much for sharing!!

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  13. Hi Tracey,
    Your photo's are just fabulous and I would just love that delicious Corn Pudding. Hope you are having a great day and thanks so much for sharing your awesome post with Full Plate Thursday!
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

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  14. That would be devoured in my house! Thank you so much for linking up at Tasty Tuesday! Your recipe has been pinned to the Tasty Tuesday Pinterest board! Please join us again this week!

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I love your comments. I read and appreciate each and every one. Thank you so much for visiting The Kitchen is My Playground! {NOTE: Captcha word verification is on to turn away the 'spambots' ... I apologize for the commenting inconvenience!}

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