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Rhode Island Jonnycakes
4 servings

1 cup fine water-ground corn meal
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
1 cup boiling water (about)
milk (to thin batter)
3-4 Tbsp bacon drippings or vegetable shortening

Mix together corn meal, salt, and sugar. Pour in boiling water
and toss with fork just to mix. There should be enough water just
to dampen the ingredients so that no dry particles show. Next,
add enough milk to thin the batter to desired consistency.~~ Heat
2 Tbsp bacon drippings or shortening on a heavy griddle over
moderate heat until a drop of water will dance about. Then drop
batter by rounded Tbsp onto griddle, reduce heat, and brown slowly,
a few at a time, 5-10 mins a side, depending on thickness, until
crispy and brown. Jonnycakes should be about 2 1/2" in diameter.
Lift to paper toweling and keep warm while frying the remainder
(add more bacon drippings or shortening as needed). Serve hot with
butter, or, if you prefer with butter and maple syrup. If cakes
are thick, try splitting and tucking in a slice of sharp Cheddar
cheese.

If you come from "South County" Rhode Island, you like your jonnycakes
thick - the batter should be about the consistency of a soft
drop-cookie dough so that it mounds on a spoon and stands up on
the griddle. And the cakes themselves will be thick, 1/2"- 3/4",
and cooked at least 10 minutes on each side until crispy-brown.
"You can't hurry jonnycakes," they say in "South County." But, if
on the other hand you are from northern Rhode Island, you like your
jonnycakes thin--almost as thin as a crepe. The recipe above is
a basic one, and you can experiment with the batter thickness until
you determine just the consistency you like. It's best to cook
jonnycakes on an old-fashioned iron griddle, but you can use an
electric skillet or griddle set at low temp.

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