cooking, holiday

Happy New Pancake!

Here in the southern USA, one of the more charming [1] traditions is a meal of black-eyed peas [2], greens, and cornbread. The intent is that by eating “po’ folks food” on New Year’s Day, one can avoid having to eat it the rest of the year [3]. This morning, I adapted the meal to breakfast, serving scrambled eggs with greens [4], bacon, a side of peas, and cornbread johnnycakes [5, 6].

If that last sounds interesting, here’s how to make a batch:

1 cup flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup milk
1 egg
1 tbsp honey

Sift the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl (I prefer one with a spout, as that makes it easier to pour out the batter). Beat the egg into the milk and add the honey. Now stir the liquid into the dry ingredients. Do not over-stir! [7] The lumps will cook out.

Pour the batter onto a medium-hot griddle, forming appropriately-sized pancakes [8]. Cook until there are bubbles all over the batter and the edges look slightly dry (about 1 minute). Flip and cook another minute or so [9]. Serve with honey and lots of butter. If you have any left-over batter, you can save it to mix with corn and make “corn dodgers” as a side dish for those black-eyed peas at lunch.

Bon apetit! And Happy New Year!


[1] “Charming” in the sense of “fun and full of food”. (my favorite kind of tradition).

[2] Also known as “crowder peas” (because they crowd together int he pod), “cowpeas” (because they were fed to the cattle), “field peas” (because the fix nitrogen, and so improve the field), and “that damned stuff” (because after the tenth meal of them, you can’t think of a more elegant appellation).

[3] Assuming that one wants to avoid eating it. Like most peasant food, the meal is tasty, inexpensive, nutritious, and easy to prepare.

[4] Recipt [a] to come later as I’m still perfecting it.

[5] As befits a food served in nearly every culture, pancakes have many names, from the crepes of France to the johnnycake of the south. Call them flapjacks, hotcakes, griddlecakes, panqueques, crumpets, poodah, apam balik, or pikelets – they are all delicious!

[6] Yes, I know that the “cornbread’ is redundant. But there may be some out there who don’t know that a johnnycake is a cornbread pancake.

[7] Stirring causes the flour molecules to link together, forming gluten. In yeast breads, this is what gives the dough its chewiness. But nobody likes a chewy pancake [b], so do not over-stir. Stop just as soon as the ingredients are well-combined, even though some big lumps may remain. These will cook out. Trust me!

[8] I.e., make them the size of a dollar coin for kids, the size of a dinner plate for teens, and somewhere between for the rest of us.

[9] Do not use the cooking time of a pancake as a guide to cooking johnnycakes! The honey makes the johnnycake brown faster, which means that it can also burn faster. You have been warned!

[a] The southern equivalent of “recipe”.

[b] Or muffin; this is why you leave the lumps in muffin batter.


2 thoughts on “Happy New Pancake!

  1. Happy NY!

    We have black eyed peas (on the farm, we find a difference between BEP and crowders–since we also call a specific breed of purple hulls we refer to as “grandma Boone peas,” I’ll accept that we may in fact be using an improper nomenclature; that said, you come to our house you’ll get “both varieties” served) for MO & pickled herring for The Duchess’ northerly/ pseudo-Canadian upbringing.

  2. I just love breakfast. Even for dinner. Just got done with eating it for lunch as a a matter of fact. I’ve gotten pretty good with dressing up plain old pancake batter into extreme waffle material. Just mix it thicker and add some vanilla into the mix. Voila! Add some strawberry pie filling on top with a couple shots of whipped creme and they disappear off the plate. My favorite though is old style potato pancakes. I could sit and eat those until I explode. Mmmm..

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