Putting the Hoe in Hoe-cake

One conspicuous bit of corn bread errata that can be found in a surprising number of reputable reference books is the contention that “hoe cakes” were actually baked on hoes. Nonsense. The Indians baked corn cakes on hot rocks, either placed over, or very close to, open fires. They didn’t need a metal hoe to bake on (plus, as they well knew, it would have looked ridiculous). And the colonists, they had pots and pans. While I suppose it’s possible that somewhere, somehow a corn cake was once placed on a hoe over an open fire (a marooned journeyman gardener, perhaps, caught out in the Pennsylvania wilderness with nothing but his implements, a fire flint and a bag of corn meal), by and large people used actual kitchen implements for baking.

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