In old cookbooks from the 1800s, corn meal was also called Indian corn.
Back then, there was no refrigeration and people cooked over an open hearth or in a wood burning stove.
There were also no thermometers, so people had to learn by experience how hot to make their fires for cooking.
Below are some cooking terms you may not be familiar with.
Sour milk – raw milk that was not used quickly enough.
Buttermilk – the liquid left after churning butter out of cream
Sweet milk – fresh milk
Gill – one half cup
Saleratus – sodium bicarbonate / baking soda
Scald – cook very hot but not to boiling
RECIPES FROM OLD COOKBOOKS
Take a pint of sour milk or buttermilk, break an egg into it, stir in a spoonful or two of flour, and add Indian meal enough to make a thick batter. Put in a teaspoonful of salt, stir it five or six minutes, and then add a heaping teaspoonful of saleratus dissolved in hot water. If it is the season for berries of any kind, put in a gill or two. Bake in a pan or on the griddle.
CORN CAKE No. 2
Take a pint of sweet milk, half a gill of yeast, one gill of flour, a teaspoonful of salt, and half a teaspoonful of saleratus. Stir in Indian meal enough to make it rather stiffer than griddle cakes. Let it rise overnight and in the morning bake twenty-five minutes in two shallow pans, or thirty-five in a deep one. This kind of cake has the advantage over those made without yeast. If a piece of it is left, it is not heavy when cold, but is as palatable a lunch as a slice of good bread.
JOURNEY OR JOHNNY CAKES
Scald a quart of sifted Indian meal with sufficient water to make it a very thick batter. Stir in two or three teaspoonsful of salt. Mold it with the hand into small cakes. In order to mold them up, it will be necessary to rub a good deal of flour on the hands to prevent their sticking. Fry them in fat nearly enough to cover them. When brown on the under side, they should be turned. It takes about twenty minutes to cook them. When cooked, split and butter them.
JOURNEY OR JOHNNY CAKES No. 2
Scald a quart of sifted Indian meal and put in saleratus dissolved in milk and salt, in the proportion of a teaspoonful of each to a quart of meal. Add three tablespoonsful of wheat flour, and drop the batter by the large spoonful into a frying pan. The batter should be a very thick consistency, and there should be just fat enough in the frying pan to prevent the cakes sticking to it.
Scald a quart of Indian meal with enough water to make a thick batter. Stir in a couple of teaspoonsful of salt and two tablespoonsful of butter. Turn it into a buttered bake pan, and bake it half an hour.
Place in a saucepan two cups of boiling water, one teaspoon of salt, and two-thirds cup of cornmeal. Stir to prevent lumping and then cook slowly for one-half hour. Now rinse a bread pan with cold water and turn in the mush. Let mold for twenty-four hours, then cut in one-half inch slices. Dip in flour and fry brown in hot fat.
Make a thin mush of corn meal and milk (or hot water, if milk is scarce). Cook till perfectly done, stirring all the time to keep it smooth. Then add a good lump of butter and after it cools a little, two eggs, one at a time. Beat in a very small pinch of soda and a little salt. Butter a yellow dish and bake slowly till brown.
PLAIN CORN BREAD
Take one pint sifted corn meal, one teaspoonful salt, and cold water sufficient to make a stiff dough. Work well with the hands, pat out in long, narrow pones, six or seven inches long and as wide as the wrist. Bake quickly in a hot pan.
Boil a quart of milk. When it has come to a boil, stir into it, gradually, eight large tablespoonfuls of Indian meal, four large tablespoonfuls of powdered sugar, and a grated nutmeg. Stir it hard, letting it boil a quarter of an hour after all the Indian meal is in. Then take it up and set it to cool. While cooling, beat eight eggs as light as possible, and stir them, gradually, into the batter when it is quite cold. Butter some large tea-cups, nearly fill them with the mixture, set them into a moderate oven, and bake them well. Turn them out of the cups and send them to table warm. Eat them with butter and molasses, or with butter, sugar, lemon-juice, and nutmeg stirred to a cream.
~~ Do you ever cook with corn meal? ~~