Friday, September 2, 2011

Family Recipe Friday - Hoe Cakes

While I didn't get this recipe from any of my ancestor's, it is one which  discovered while doing research on families who travelled west by wagon train. It is also a recipe used by cooks during cattle drives during the old west. As well as a recipe that was used by soldiers during the Civil War. The only ingredients it required were cornmeal, a little salt, and a little water. Some kind of "grease" for frying helped, but they could even be baked if needed in a dutch oven.

This made this recipe a completely portable, and FAST fixer for those travelling. It was also an economical staple for soldiers!

They can also be "meated up" by adding bits of fried bacon to them. Or cutting the kernels from corn on the cob and adding the corn kernels to the recipe. Chunks of ham also could be added. They also served as a side to beans. Or taters!

Hoe cakes were a versatile addition to the staple food that carried individuals travelling across this nation in its early days!

Today, what a great dish to add to your summer time camp out! Teaching your children, or grandchildren all about the old ways. As my own children were growing up, we welcomed those summer campouts as a way to teach them things that they might never learn otherwise. Hoe cakes were a staple cooked over our summer campfires!

Hoe Cakes

2 cups stone ground corn meal
1-teaspoon salt
2-cups water
lard or bacon drippings to fry in

Mix cornmeal, salt and water in bowl until slightly lumpy. Dip onto hot, oiled griddle into size of cake desired [think smaller than pancakes].
Fry until golden. Turn and fry other side.
Serve plain, or slather with fresh churned butter!

These can be made with regular ground corn meal, but you really should use stone ground cornmeal, that has not been ground to the finest consistency [still has a few chunks of hard kernels!]. I visit a local mill and ask for a rougher grind. They always look at me oddly, but are kind to oblige! This will give you a more authentic experience when eating this dish!

We've had these for a camp breakfast alone, with butter and jams. And we've eaten them like pancakes. We've also eaten them with pinto beans, just like you would cornbread.
Think of them as the tortilla of the north!

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