Wednesday, June 30, 2010

George Washington Hoe Cakes

According to his step-granddaughter, Nelly Custis Lewis, George Washington liked to rise with the sun, read or write until seven or seven fifteen, then sneak downstairs for his favorite breakfast of “three small hoe cakes swimming in butter and honey” and “three cups of tea without cream."

So, what are Hoe Cakes? Well, they’re usually made from a simple batter of corn meal, salt and water and fried in grease. Some people say that Hoe Cakes got their name because they were baked on the blade of a hoe by slaves in the field. Others claim that “hoe” was once another term for “griddle” in colonial Virginia and parts of England.

Either way, George sure seemed to enjoy them — and you might, too, if you try them someday! If you'd like to whip up a batch of hoe cakes today, here's a recipe to try that's simple to make and tastes simply delicious!

8 ½ cups white cornmeal
¼ teaspoons dry yeast
1 egg
warm water
honey and unsalted butter to taste

In large container, mix together 4 cups white cornmeal, 1 ¼ teaspoons dry yeast, and enough warm water to give mixture the consistency of pancake batter (about 3-4 cups).

Cover and set on counter overnight. In the morning, gradually add remaining cornmeal, egg and enough warm water to give the mixture the consistency of pancake batter about (3-4 cups).

Cover and set aside for 15 minutes. Add grease to a heated griddle. Pour batter, by the spoonful, onto the griddle.

When the hoe cake is brown on one side, turn it over and brown the other side. Serve warm with lots of butter and honey and enjoy!