As Thick As Johnny Cakes

Recipe for corn bread:

3 pints of sweet milk
2 tea spoons of soda
1 saucer of wheat flour
A little salt
1/2 cup molasses

Stir as thick as Johnny Cakes
Steam 2 1/2 hours (?)
Then put it in the oven 10 minutes and take it out and eat it.

Found in "The Rule and Exercises of Holy Dying" by Jeremy Taylor. Published by Little, Brown, 1864.

Is it me, or is there no corn in this corn bread?

-Click to enlarge photos-


  1. Haha! You are right - no corn mentioned in the recipe. Did the writer forget to include it? Or perhaps she wrote "wheat" when she really meant "corn"? But the self-assured precision of the nineteenth century handwriting suggests not. Love that capital C.

    How much flour is in a saucer?

  2. This looks like a well-used recipe. With 3 pints of milk, you would need a lot of cornmeal, more than a saucerful. My favorite recipe calls for 1 cup cornmeal and 1 cup flour for 1 cup milk. The penmanship is beautiful, indeed.

  3. I would suggest that "Stir as thick as Johnny cakes" means "add cornmeal until it's thick as Johnny cakes." Which I guess means something like "Eh, we never really bothered to measure the cornmeal part."