12 April 2016

J is for Johnny Cake

Johnny cake.  Was a long time before I knew the johnny cake my dad made was actually corn bread.  Breakfast time on the mornings Father made Johnny Cake brought us all to the table in no time flat.  He didn’t make it very often.  It was best, hot, just out of the oven.  The cake itself was so delicious, smothered in butter melting down the top and syrup poured right over that.
Now, in our family, the reason everyone rushed to the table was cause of the corners.  There are only four square corners and two of them were already gone by the time we got there, regardless of whether or not Mom was at the table.  That left two corners for us to fight over since Father got the other.  Unless Gramma and Grampa were over, or Uncle Ralph.

The main reason why those corners are so special is cause they were the only pieces that were cut bigger.  The middles were smaller.  My dad used a 10x13 inch pan and those were just right for us, being as there were five kids and two adults.  So, the corners being bigger meant the middle was cut to accommodate any more people who arrived for breakfast.

Man, my parents were sneaky.  They used a lot of these kinds of tricks to get us to the table and eat.  And in our house, one didn’t throw away good food.  Think I was in high school before I threw out food directly into the garbage whenever I wanted.  Naturally, not being able to toss food meant there might be some stashed somewhere, to be found when cleaning up.

Cleaning up was usually done after school cause there wasn’t time for it in the morning.  Mom and Dad both worked and we went to school.  And that’s another story for sometime down the road.  We lived near the school and so had no real reason to miss it unless we were verifiably sick.  Cept for high school which was 20 miles away.  Still had the chores after school though.  Being in high school meant we had to get our own breakfast cause we had to be out of the house earlier than Dad and Mom.

That was when I found out about Johnny cake.  I came across it when they’d make chili.  Can’t really remember, yeah, the cooks did call it corn bread in grade school.  Yeah, yeah, yeah.  I’m not quite with it sometimes.  Imagine, being a teenager before making the connection that the Johnny cake at home was the corn bread at school.

And by then, the times Dad made it was few and far between.  I make it now and it’s not quite the same.  Must be that secret ingredient that each really good cook adds to their dish.  It’s not the same for everyone.  Like with the spaghetti the boys cook.  We all use the same ingredients, yet it tastes different.  Wonder why that is?  Dad’s Johnny cake is great!

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