The Rhode Island legislature will not approve of this, spelling, but neither will they approve any cornmeal other than white flint. Other parts of New England are rigorous in their own way.
Pretty Flower at Dovecrest remembers when they had “johnnycakes in the morning, johnnycakes for lunch, and if there were any leftover johnny-cakes, johnnycakes for supper.” Jamestown grows some flint corn, she tells me, but flint was so expensive they used white dent. “Some swear they can tell the difference, but I can’t,” she says, “as long as it’s stone ground.” She gets her grain from a grist mill in Maryland and sifts out the finest meal in a hopper her husband designed. Her cakes are white, light, crisp, and browned at the edges, three inches in diameter and an inch thick, and served with venison steak as one might serve potato pancakes.
In the recipe below, I’ve compromised between the “Thin East-of-Narragansett Johnnycakes,” as
The cake will be lighter if you warm the meal, mixed with the salt, in the oven before you begin. Gradually stir in the boiling water and then the milk until you have the dilution desired (these cakes will be medium thin to very thin).
Heat a griddle or cast-iron skillet, grease it lightly, and pour on a large spoonful of batter to make a
© 1986 Betty Fussell. All rights reserved.