Sunday, November 15, 2020

For the Love of Johnnycake

This time of the year brings back memories of sitting at my grandmother's kitchen table enjoying more than a few slices of her freshly baked johnnycake. Most times it'd still be nice and warm. The aroma of that favorite cake often eaten with meals like bread filled her home. When you walked through the front door and caught the scent of johnnycake, it was as if you'd discovered a little bit of heaven. Actually, my cousin and I did. It was always heaven being around our grandmother whose johnnycake was made from scratch without any need to look up a recipe in a cookbook or go searching in a drawer for a piece of paper with the recipe scribbled on it. She knew that recipe by heart.

The Quaker Corn Meal packaged in its distinctive box was a staple in her home. She used corn meal for many things. But johnnycake was the main event. As we sat around the kitchen table indulging ourselves with a slice or two, we'd sometimes hear about how when they-meaning my grandparents and their children-used to make dessert out of their warm johnnycake by pouring maple syrup made in the spring over their slices. I can only imagine the taste!

I still love johnnycake. In fact, I make johnnycake but it's nothing like what my grandmother made while wearing a house dress with her hair pulled up in a bun.. I buy those little boxes Of Jiffy Corn Muffin mixes. You just have to pour the batter into an 8" square pan when making johnnycake. Add milk and an egg to their mix and twenty minute later, you have johnnycake. Or should I say a version of johnnycake. 

You see it doesn't come with family gathered once again around a kitchen table where they often gathered, talking and laughing as the older generation would tell the younger generation stories from days of long ago-stories the younger generation often asked if they'd tell them again and again. Most often they did tell their stories again and most often they told them while we enjoyed warm, homemade johnnycake with a touch of real butter and served with a meal or served with just a piping hot freshly perked cup of coffee made in a coffee pot that had served so many cups of coffee alongside johnnycake made from scratch, not from a box.