Virginia State Foods
Johnnycakes are cornmeal pancakes most simply made with just cornmeal, water, and salt. The dough is left to sit for about half an hour before being shaped into discs and fried on both sides. Other recipes are much more like cornmeal pancakes and can include white flour, butter or oil, egg, milk, and a leavening agent such as baking powder. Johnnycakes are a popular breakfast served hot with butter and honey or maple syrup. They can also be a side dish with a meal. Though it’s less common now, in the past, a leftover Johnnycake was a common snack or take-along lunch.
It’s not clear exactly when or where Johnnycakes originated. They may have been a Native American food, or an early settlers’ invention, but they’re at least a few centuries old. The strong association with Virginia probably came about during the American Civil War, when cornmeal was an important staple for Confederate soldiers, and Johnnycakes were a quick, simple meal soldiers were able to make for themselves.