Hoe Cakes

Dear Boys,

When I was growing up, I loved for my mom to make pinto beans and cornbread.  My favorite was when the cornbread came in the form of hoecakes.  I added some pickle relish to the beans, crumbled the cornbread in them and ate every bite.

While pinto beans aren’t your fare of choice, I do know that you love Granny’s hoecakes, too.  When she made them for you on our recent visit to Kentucky, I took notes.  Here is how you make them:

DSC_0362Pour enough cooking oil into a skillet to coat the bottom.  Turn it to medium high and let it heat while you mix the batter.

DSC_0361The first thing you need is self-rising cornmeal mix.

She said don’t ask her how much, because it’s different every time.  This is one of those recipes she makes by heart and changes according to how many hoecakes she wants.  It was fun to see her pour and mix and just know what was needed.  I want to be able to cook like that.

DSC_0365I’m guessing she had about 2 cups in the dish.  (Notice that she mixed it in a pitcher which makes for easy pouring.)

DSC_0369Next she added some milk.  I think it was about 3/4 cup.

DSC_0371Then add a little bit of water (about 1/4 cup).  Sorry for this silly picture of water draining in the sink.  Granny is a much more efficient hoecake maker than I am a photographer, and I didn’t get the picture soon enough of her adding water.


These are the only ingredients, and they are very forgiving.  Granny decided hers was a little thin and added a bit more cornmeal to it.  It needs to be a pourable, mushy consistency.  I recommend you make them with Granny a time or two so that she can show you the perfect thickness.

I love it that her hands are in this photo.  Hands that have cared and worked and served and loved so many.

We are blessed.

DSC_0375By now, your oil is hot, and you can pour the batter into the skillet.

DSC_0385When they look like this, she flipped them to the other side.

DSC_0392See that little vertical mist coming onto the hoe cake in the back?  She sprayed some Pam cooking spray onto the cake before flipping it to keep it from sticking.

DSC_0398When the hoe cakes are golden and crispy on both sides, remove from the pan and enjoy.

One other tidbit . . .

While I am fairly certain you’d rather give up electricity than meat, I want you to know that pinto beans and cornbread actually make a complete protein and are a viable option if you’re ever trying to trim your grocery costs.  The corn supplies an amino acid that is lacking in the beans, so taken together they can provide sound nutrition.

Whatever you choose to eat with them, enjoy your hoe cakes and your thoughts of sweet Granny!

I love you,


P.S. Here is a fun photo of the cousins that enjoyed Granny’s hoe cakes during spring break.



6 responses to “Hoe Cakes

  1. ❤ Miss Evelyn! I find that I sometimes do the "eyeball amount" when I'm cooking. There are so many things that my mother taught me to make this way that it's difficult to explain the "recipe" to others. My father says that it's the way he was taught in medical school: See One, Do One, Teach One. It comes with time!

    • Yes, Mary Taylor, I agree that it takes time. I’ll have to ask Dan if he heard your dad’s medical school directive in vet school. I love it when the knowing of cooking happens! This was my mom who made the hoe cakes, but Nana Evelyn has this gift, as well! They’re both amazing. Thanks for the comment. You are always so encouraging!

  2. Searching for sausage patties on google returned your blog early in the results. See, I’m a father of three girls who are learning to cook. They are young and busy life provides plenty of competition for their time, so we are often looking up hints at the last minute! I’m glad to have stumbled across your blog that reads like a well-composed photo journal. As a parent I can appreciate the desire to capture little reminders of your routines. And as one of two boys who grew up with a single mom, I wish we had received some of the family wisdom that you are capturing for yours! Usually I’m gleaning a quick cooking lesson from Google’s findings, but tonight I enjoyed slowing down and reading several entries that were about much more than recipes. Keep it up! What a great read for a stranger; I’m sure it will be very meaningful for your sons in the years to come.

    • What kind words! Thank you for taking the time to write. So much living occurs around the making and eating of food. It is a real gathering point in our home, and it sounds like it is in yours, as well. I wish you many wonderful hours together around your stove and table!

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