Friday, April 01, 2011

Civil War Study- Johnnycakes

This year we've been focusing our history studies on The Civil War.  Last year we studied The Discovery of America, the Colonial Period and the Revolutionary War so next on the list of major American events was the Civil War.  Sometimes I feel the pressure to reinvent the homeschool wheel of unit studies, but have found many great resources online and at our local library.  I'm consistently looking for ideas to incorporate into our schooling making it not only educational, but fun and interesting.  In all too many classrooms, history is presented in a way that is forgettable, uneventful and just plain boring.  On the contrary, history is amazingly interesting and so applicable to our lives today.

One resource I found for beginning a Civil War study is from Our Homeschooling Expedition .  I don't incorporate or do every activity listed, but glean what would help us out or supplement our current study. 

Yesterday we made Johnnycakes.  We found the recipe in Exploring History through Simple Recipes Civil War Cooking The Union by Susan Dosier.  We found the book at our local library.  Apparently, people in the New World have eaten Johnnycakes since the 1600's.  They are very popular in the Northeastern United States.  We revised the recipe a bit.  Here's what we did.

To make Johnnycakes you need:

1 cup boiling water
1 1/2 cups ground yellow cornmeal (we used Bob's Red Mill)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, optional
1/2-1 cup milk
2 Tablespoons butter, for griddle
molasses or syrup and butter for serving

1.  Bring water to boil in the saucepan.  Pour water over cornmeal
2.  Add salt, sugar, and 1/2 cup milk in bowl.  Stir well.  Continue to add additional milk and additional water if necessary until batter has consistency thicker than normal pancake batter, but can be spread in pan to make cakes.
3.  Melt 2 tablespoons butter in skillet or you can use a griddle.  Cook over medium heat 4-5 minutes on each side.  Cook until edges are lightly browned.  Turn gently with spatula.
4.  We served sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, but the book recommends molasses, or syrup.  Enjoy!

When I made the recipe as directed the batter seemed very thick like this.  I think you need to thin it out with more water or milk to receive the desired consistency.

I LOVE this cast iron pan.  A necessity for every kitchen.  Make sure you buy the one made in USA.  The others are no good.

Yummy Johnnycakes.  Ours were thicker than those pictured in the book.  Very good!  And filling!

They turn out great on a griddle too!  Enjoy!

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