I was reading an article about eighteenth century cooking in America, particularly recipes used by pioneer women who were having to use ingredients they weren’t necessarily familiar with, or ingredients that were substitutions for things they didn’t have.
Johnnycakes, for example, sometimes called journey cakes, which makes sense – they were delicious sounding cornmeal pancakes cum flatbreads. It was food that travelled – in two senses, one it was portable sot you could make them and carry them easily with you, but also, having first been made on the east coast, they travelled north to Newfoundland and south to the Caribbean islands. Other names include ashcake, battercake, corncake, cornpone, hoe cake, jonakin/ jonikin, mush bread, pone and Shawnee cake. No doubt each household has its own favourite recipe, but here is a simple one I found:
- 5 oz cornmeal
- just less than ½ pint water
- just less than ¼ pint of milk
- bacon fat or butter
- a good pinch of salt
- boil the water
- pour slowly onto cornmeal and salt stirring all the time
- add the milk to make a stiff batter
- melt the butter/bacon fat in a frying pan and drop spoonfuls of batter to make little pancakes, flipping them over when done on one side
They are eaten with maple syrup and or apple sauce… I wonder if ice-cream is allowed?
Another recipe was Indian slapjacks – I thought it was a misprint for flapjacks but no, slapjacks! These are more pancake, made with milk, cornmeal eggs and a pinch of salt and when cooked eaten with butter or maple syrup.
So next time the family are at home for a leisurely breakfast, I think I might be making johnnycakes or slapjacks!
My featured image is of some cornbread I made a while ago… maybe I should make some more, it was very tasty!