For one month I’ve been spending time with the 1906 Berlin Cook Book. I thought it was time to return to the Pancake section where I started this adventure. This time it is Mrs. L. M. Crother’s recipe for Corn Cakes (p. 131). Unfortunately I can’t find any trace of an L. M. Crothers. There are some other Crothers in Ontario and I tried a few spelling variations but so far I haven’t been able to find Mrs. L. M. Crothers. She will remain a mystery for now.
The ingredients used in this recipe are staples in any household in the early 20th century and could be purchased at any grocery store in Berlin. As usual, I used medium eggs and all-purpose flour. The old term Indian meal, instead of corn meal, is used occasionally in some recipes and grocery account books. The Dana Porter Library at the University of Waterloo has some grocer account books from the late 19th century in the archives that provide a glimpse into the world of buying on account. Many people would buy with credit much as we can today. The grocery clerk would keep a record of what the individual purchased and then the family would settle up at a certain time. It could be at pay-day or the end of the month or any other length of time. This practice made it difficult for storekeepers to pay for stock since they usually had to pay in cash to keep goods in their store. In rural areas it was common to pay down an account with produce such as eggs, butter or fruits and vegetables that the store could resell. Doon Heritage Village at the Waterloo Region Museum has a dry goods and grocery store where all of this comes to life.
This recipe turned out much better than the previous corn cakes recipe. It was much more what I expected and was quite good. I mixed the dry ingredients (flour, corn meal, baking powder, salt and sugar) together and then added the butter and egg. In the end I used over 1 cup of water to create a thin batter. I heated a frying pan and added a little fat. I spooned out the batter to make the cornmeal pancakes. Mrs. Crother’s Corn Cakes eaten with a little butter and some maple syrup was heavenly.
Mrs. Crother’s Corn Cakes will stay on my list of recipes. They aren’t the best cornmeal pancakes I’ve ever eaten but they are certainly quick and easy and they taste fine.
3/4 cup flour, 3/4 cup corn meal, 1 egg, water enough to make a rather thin batter, salt, 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon butter, 1 teaspoon sugar