Nothing smells better than Hoecakes cooking in the morning, or any time of day for that matter! A towering stack of Hoecakes served with melting butter and maple syrup makes everyone happy! Paula has always loved preparing these delicious cornmeal cakes for her family and friends. Over the years they have become a signature dish from Paula’s kitchen and one that all patrons who visit The Lady and Son’s Restaurant can enjoy on their visit to Savannah. Paula’s Hoecakes are served with every meal and provide a delicious “Welcome to the South.”
Hoecakes have served as a staple food for many years and have been given a multitude of names. Originally they were made from ground Indian corn and cooked on hot stones over a campfire. The name some Native Americans gave them was “jonican” and many regions now call them Johnny Cakes. Another name they have been given is “corn pone” referring to the ground cornmeal they are made from, or, when cooked over an open campfire where there were ashes, “Ash cakes.” However, here in the South, the thin flat bread cakes were originally cooked on the face of a planting hoe held over an open flame. The hoes used by field hands had a wider face and were a perfect surface for cooking these flat bread cakes. Consequently, the name, “Hoecakes” was born!
Through the years we have thankfully abandoned cooking with a garden hoe, but one of Paula’s prized possessions is the cast iron Hoecake pan she inherited from her Grandmother Paul. She cooks her Hoecakes, as well as biscuits on this treasured pan. Paula has warm memories of cooking with her grandmother on the very pan she now uses to cook hoecakes for her grandson, Jack. Don’t worry though, if you don’t have a hoecake pan, these amazing cakes can also be made in a hot cast iron skillet or on a griddle. Sometimes on a griddle, the edges will cook with a bit of a lacy effect, and some people call them “Lacy Cakes.”
No matter what you call them, Hoecakes are a wonderful, easy treat for any family. You can have them at home or even on a camp out! All you need is a skillet and a fire.