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The History of Johnny Cakes

Although johnny cakes are new to the Bluebird menu, they are not a new recipe! These thin, fried cakes are made with cornmeal, and their history goes back to the early Native Americans.

While the origin of the name remains uncertain, many historians believe they were called ‘Shawnee cakes’ by the Pawtuxet Indians, and English settlers mispronounced it as ‘jonnycakes.’

Johnny cakes were first mentioned in print in 1793 in Amelia Simmons’ American Cookery. They are traditionally made with ground flint corn and consist of ground cornmeal, boiling water and salt.

The modern johnny cake is claimed to have originated in Rhode Island, and Kenyon’s Grist Mill in Rhode Island prides itself on making the original and only cornmeal for authentic Rhode Island Johnny Cakes.

Today, variations of johnny cakes are made across the world. While some cooks still prepare them with the simple ingredients of the original recipe, many add butter, eggs and baking soda, creating a texture similar to a pancake.

“These delicious cakes are savory and sweet with a taste that reminds so many of home,” said Chef Dylan. “I grew up eating these as a kid and love to make them in The Bluebird for our guests to enjoy!”

Johnny cakes are featured in the Bluebird’s Pinto Beans and Johnny Cakes meal or as a side item. Try them today and let us know what you think!