Pancakes in the 18th century were called Johnny cakes (also spelled "johnnycakes" and "journey cakes"). Still available at John Greenhow Store in Colonial Williamsburg's Historic Area, our Johnny Cake Mix uses simple, traditional ingredients of salt and cornmeal. These colonial pancakes make a memorable breakfast when baked or fried on a griddle and topped with our old-fashioned Maple Praline Syrup. 12 oz.
When American Indians showed the Pilgrims how to cook with maize, they must have taught them how to make Johnny cakes. The dough was made of cornmeal, salt, and water, and was seldom sweetened, since sugar was expensive and in short supply in early colonial America. The thick batter was shaped into a flat cake, set on a wooden board or barrel stave, and placed at an angle in front of an open fire to bake. Or, it might be baked or fried on a griddle.
Johnny cakes were also referred to as "hoe cakes," since they were sometimes cooked over an open fire on the blade of a hoe. Colonist Daniel Fisher, in his journey from Virginia to Philadelphia in 1755, described being served at one rural tavern "an English Hoe Cake, made out of wheat flour, with butter, accompanied by tea and sugar."