Shortnin' Bread

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"Shortnin' Bread" (also spelled "Shortenin' Bread" or "Short'nin' Bread") (Roud 4209) is a song by James Whitcomb Riley.


"Shortnin' Bread" is often thought of as a traditional plantation song. However the first version was written by white poet James Whitcomb Riley in 1900. His song was named "A Short'nin' Bread Song—Pieced Out", the chorus of which is:

Fotch dat dough fum the kitchin-shed—
Rake de coals out hot an' red—
Putt on de oven an' putt on de led,—
Mammy's gwineter cook som short'nin' bread.[1]

Titled "Shortened Bread", E.C. Perrow published the first folk version of this song in 1915, which he collected from East Tennessee in 1912.[2] The folk version of the song—as with Riley's— does not have any distinct theme, but consists of various floating lyrics, some relating to "shortnin' bread", some not. The traditional chorus associated with the folk song goes:

Mammy's little baby loves short'nin', short'nin',
Mammy's little baby loves short'nin' bread

Shortening bread is a fried batter bread, the ingredients of which include corn meal, flour, hot water, eggs, baking powder, milk and shortening.[citation needed]

In popular culture[edit]






  1. ^ Eitel, The Complete Works of James Whitcomb Riley, p. 119.
  2. ^ Perrow, "Songs and Rhymes from the South," p. 142: "from Tennessee mountain whites, 1912".
  3. ^ "WLS Silver Dollar Survey, 14 October 1960". Retrieved 2011-10-17. 


External links[edit]