Food - Drink
Johnnycakes: The Cornmeal Pancake With A Mysterious Origin
Americans often use the name of a food to help pinpoint its geographical location, like how fried green tomatoes are equated with the south, fish tacos with the West coast, and clam bakes with New England. However, some foods are equated with a specific part of the country, but not exclusive to the region, and Johnnycakes are one of these foods
Johnnycakes are often described as cornmeal pancakes made with cornmeal, water, and salt, with a cooking process similar to making pancakes, but with a longer cooking time. Recipes can also vary to include fat, eggs, flour, sugar, and other desired ingredients, with a sweet topping like maple syrup or fruit typically served with the finished cakes.
As far as the name goes, some historians believe they were first called Shawnee cakes and that "johnnycake" is a result of mispronunciation. Another theory is that these cakes were known as "journey cakes," as they were good on long journeys, while still other historians believe that johnnycake came from "janiken," the American Indian word for "corn cake."
Johnnycakes have strong ties to Native American history, as Native Americans at Plymouth and Indian tribes from the southern states introduced corn to European settlers. Johnnycakes are also plentiful in the Caribbean islands, where many Native Americans fled to during the Independence War and brought their foods along.