Yorktowne Hotel, York County celebrate holiday tradition of corn pudding
YORK, Pa., Dec 11, 2012 (York Daily Record - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Executive chef Derek Myers ladled handfuls of yellow corn into a meat grinder in the kitchen at the Yorktowne Hotel in York.
The mushed grain fell into a 15-gallon metal bowl filled with half-and-half, sugar, cornstarch, butter, salt and pepper.
He whisked the golden mixture with one hand before pouring it into pans.
It was the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Myers was making the hotel's signature corn pudding, a staple at the hotel and for some York County residents around the holidays since at least the 1950s.
The hotel serves the sweet custard year-round in its Commonwealth Room. However, it's a must-have on the buffet table for brunches on Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and Mother's Day. The corn pudding also has been a tradition for patrons who order pans of it to serve at their holiday meals.
One year, Myers said, the kitchen didn't put corn pudding on the menu for a holiday buffet, and they heard from diners.
Myers has been preparing the dish for the last 10 years. After mixing the ingredients, he bakes the pans of pudding in a water bath in a convection oven. It takes about 2 1/2 hours to make about 150 to 200 pounds.
Before Myers, James "Pops" Manning made the pudding. Manning, 80, of Shelby, N.C., started working at the hotel in 1958. He first cut vegetables and washed dishes. He then began cooking breakfast. One day, the chef needed someone to make the corn pudding.
Manning -- who was at one time the executive chef -- took on the task and it stayed his for more than 40 years. If someone else made it, he said, he could tell if an ingredient was off.
"I cooked so much of that stuff, I could do it blindfolded," he said.
Manning said the corn pudding was a hotel signature before he started, and he's not sure where the recipe came from. According to some websites, corn pudding originated in the South.
For some people, holidays wouldn't be holidays without a pan of corn pudding on their table.
of Springettsbury Township has bought the hotel's corn pudding to serve on Thanksgiving for at least 20 years.
"It's delicious, the texture, the taste, the tradition of it," she said.
Seligson said she first had the corn pudding when her family moved to York in the 1950s. She and her husband, Stephen, later included the dish in their holiday when their daughter was little.
She said she has the recipe, but she doesn't want to try to make it.
"It's about 1,000 calories a bite," Seligson joked. "It's one of those things that you don't want to know what's in there."
Jere Strittmatter, 62, of Lancaster County, first tried the corn pudding at the hotel's dining room about 30 years ago. It has been a part of his Thanksgivings and Christmases since.
Strittmatter, who grew up in York County, said his family looks forward to it every year. He buys two pans each holiday -- one for the meal and one for leftovers.
"It's very hard to make and duplicate yourself," he said.
A batch of corn pudding at The Yorktowne Hotel
20 pounds frozen corn, steamed
9 quarts half-and-half
3/4 box cornstarch
1/4 pound sugar
1/2 pound butter
Salt and pepper
The Yorktowne Hotel serves corn pudding in its Commonwealth Room year-round. Some customers order it to go for their meals on Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and Mother's Day. People may order it to take out any time of year. It costs $15 for a quarter pan, $25 for a half and $50 for a full. For details, call 717-848-1111 or visit www.yorktowne.com.
More uses for corn from Only in York County
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