Day 9 Corn Cakes


Corn Cakes frying.


It is time to try something for breakfast in Berlin Ontario again. I like corn meal so the recipe for Corn Cakes submitted by Mrs. Dreher in the 1906 Berlin Cook Book looked good. I assumed the recipe was for a cornmeal pancake since it appears in a chapter called Pancakes. I followed the recipe as written and my result is edible, and probably a cheap and filling start to the day for a hardworking family in 1912, but I found it tasteless for 2012. I slathered my portion in butter and maple syrup just to be able eat more than a bite. Salt in the batter would be an improvement and perhaps even a dash of sugar. Perhaps Mrs. Dreher assumed that everyone knew to add salt? I added a little salt to a portion of the batter but it didn’t improve the taste as much as I’d hoped.

The cooking technique is also missing. I thought the mixture should be fried in a little lard or butter in a frying pan. The batter is quite thick so I dropped a teaspoon full into the pan and sort of shaped it into a patty. Later I tried adding a little water to some of the batter and poured it into the fry pan. Since the batter was so thick it was difficult to add any salt. I thinned another portion, added salt and then fried as a pancake. The pancake with salt was slightly better but still not something I’d make again. But perhaps the batter it is to be deep fried or even baked?  I took a little more of the batter and baked it in a small dish.  None of these attempts improved the taste although I liked the texture of the thinner pancake. After three different methods failed to work I decided to skip the scary deep fat test. There is another recipe for corn cakes to try in this section of the cook book. Watch for it in a few weeks. I simply can’t face another corn meal pancake for quite a while!

It’s moments like these where a pig in the back yard would be handy. It could grow fat eating my “mistakes” during this year. At one time pigs were kept by some people in the town of Berlin.


2 cupsful flour, 1 cupful corn meal, 2 1/2 teaspoonsful baking powder, 1 egg, 1 1/4 cupsful of milk, 1 1/2 cupsful of boiling water. Mix cornmeal and boiling water, boil a few minutes; cool, and add milk and the remaining dry ingredients, then the well beaten egg.

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2 Responses to Day 9 Corn Cakes

  1. Desmond Jagger-Parsons says:

    Traditionally in Newfoundland we fried things in salt pork (when fried, we call them scrunchions). Would they have picked things like pig fat here to fry things in. It would add all the salt (and flavour) you need. Perhaps it’s not relevant….but I wonder

  2. Kathe says:

    I admire your commitment to this project, Carolyn. I would have abandoned the project with the first ruined breakfast; of all of my daily meals, that is the one I most expect to be a pleasure. Mind you, I’d find the requisite meat-eating a bit of a challenge as well! My guess is there were fewer vegetarians back in the days of the Berlin Cookbook.

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