Day 7: Your New Favourite Sidekick

For today’s recipe, I’m going to be heavily referencing the conch chowder I talked about yesterday, so if you haven’t read that entry yet, I would highly recommend it. You can find my musings on the Bahamian stew here.

Those of you with sharp eyes may have noticed yesterday that the photo I included of my conch chowder also had, tucked in the background, a little piece of a yellow-y looking golden loaf of some sort. Perhaps your curiosity was piqued. Perhaps you said to yourself “What is that delicious looking baked good? Why was there no mention of it? When will I stop asking myself so many hypothetical questions???”

I’m here to settle your mind and answer all of these. Except maybe the last one, you’re going to have to work on that yourself.

Friends, tonight I’m going to introduce you to the wonderful creation that is Johnnycake. Wikipedia and the internet at large tells me that johnnycake is the same as cornbread, that Southern staple, but I would have to disagree. I have eaten cornbread. I have made cornbread. And this sir, is no cornbread.

Okay, it kind of is, but trust me when I say it’s way better. Johhnycake is the Caribbean version of cornbread, included at almost every meal, playing backup to everything from seafood, to stews, to whatever. It honestly goes with everything. It’s slightly sweet, but not so much that it throws off your tastebuds. The cornmeal gives this bread an intriguingly dense texture, without making you feel as though you’re eating a wet brick. It sits comfortably in your stomach, and if you use it to soak up the remains of your conch chowder, no one would blame you. I like cornbread, but I never understood the obsession with it until I tried johnnycake. Everyone makes it a little differently, and there isn’t really any one right way to make it. Actually, that’s a lie, as anyone with “their” recipe will tell you, theirs is the right way. Correction, there are an infinite number of ways to make it. Sometimes it’s baked, sometimes it’s fried, and every way, it’s delicious. As a friend once said, “my favourite way to eat johnnycake is with my mouth.”

The recipe that I have for johnnycake is one that my grandmother passed down, typed up on a small index card from her time down south. It’s crinkled and covered in stains, which, as any frequent home cooks will know, is the best way to tell which recipes are classics.

Ingredients 

  • 1/3 cup shortening (like Crisc0)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sour milk
  • 1 tsp baking soda dissolved in the milk
  • 1 and 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F
  2. Cream together the shortening and sugar.
  3. Beat in the egg and salt until well combined.
  4. Add the milk (with the baking soda already dissolved into it), flour and cornmeal, combine.
  5. Put in a greased 8×8 pan and bake for 30 minutes, until golden on top and a knife inserted in comes out cleanly.
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