Ever had a Johnny Cake? Something about this time of the year makes me want one, but I don’t think I’d turn one down anytime of the year, especially if I had a glass of sweet tea to wash it down.
To make Johnny Cakes you only need cornmeal and hot water. Just mix the 2 into a batter and fry in oil. But most of the time I use the fancier recipe below, the egg and flour give the cakes more substance.
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 cup hot water or milk (I use hot water)
- 1 tablespoon oil
Mix all the dry ingredients; stir in the egg, water (or water), and oil; fry like a pancake.
If you didn’t already know, I guess you’ve figured it out by now: A Johnny Cake is really just a pancake made with cornmeal.
In the cookbook More Than Moonshine, Sidney Saylor Farr shares a story about asking her Grandmother how Johnny Cakes got their name. The gist of her Grandmother’s explanation was: a pioneer lady made her hungry boy, named Johnny, a cake and told him it was Johnny’s cake. I’ve also heard the cakes were originally called Journey Cakes because of the ease with which they could be made as one traveled on their journey.
Johnny Cakes are good with syrup and especially good with a smear of pepper jelly. But my favorite way to eat them is plain. There’s something about the texture and the nuttiness of the cornmeal that make them quite tasty straight out of the pan.