My Grandmother taught me to cook. I loved helping her prepare any meal, allmeals. Her patience seemed most evident in the kitchen. She answered my cooking questions by the dozen, even when they came one after another.
Whenever I went to Grandma’s, I begged her to cook hoecake. She always complied. I loved that she made it for me. Although she made it look easy, I thought it must be awfully hard because it tasted so good. The last thing she cooked before putting dinner on the table, every time she had it mixed together before I could ask if I could help.
Sort of like cornbread, it had a crispy outside and a chewy middle. She cooked it on a round griddle, sliding it off on a plate and expertly flipping it over to the other side to cook.
It always puzzled me, though, as to her answer when I would ask her for her recipe. “Land’s sake, Child, that’s just the easiest thing in the world to make. You certainly don’t need no recipe. It’s just white cornmeal, salt, water and lard”.
When Grandma and Mom passed away within six months of each other, I inherited their recipe boxes and cookbooks. I looked long and hard for the hoecake recipe but to no avail.
For the last 18 years since Grandma’s trip to heaven, I’ve looked through cookbook after cookbook for that recipe. I’ve tried those various ingredients in different combinations and amounts. I’ve tried hundreds of recipes of what I thought would work. They never tasted like Grandma’s.
A couple of months ago, Janet, an older friend of mine brought me a hoecake recipe she thought might work.
“It’s just white corn meal, salt and water,” Janet said.
“It can’t be that easy,” I said. “She said it had lard in it.”
“I imagine the grease is just for the griddle to keep the hoecake from sticking. The secret is boiling water.”
As I made another batch of hoecake tonight, I thought about the simplicity of the recipe which evaded me for years.
I tend to think nothing can be really, really great unless it is extremely complicated. Jesus understood that tendency. That’s why he gave us the straight scoop on what it takes to live forever with Him: just believe in Him.
The free gift of salvation is simple. But there is a secret to it. The secret is that it has to be received. I can buy a gift for my husband, wrap it, put his name on it and place it under the tree. It’s still a gift but it is not my husband’s unless he takes it, unwraps it and makes it his own.
It’s really not rocket science. Just boil the water. Just accept the gift. Just live forever eating hoecake. Well, Jesus doesn’t really didn’t say that exactly but, you get my point.
1 cup white corn meal
Salt to taste (about ¾ teaspoon)
¾-1 cup boiling water
Mix corn meal and salt together. Pour boiling water in steady stream. Mix together well. Make patties the size you desire. Drop in hot skillet with a small amount of oil or sprayed with vegetable spray. Turn when outside is just slightly browned. Cook on other side until slightly brown. Center will be chewy. Outside will be crisp. This can also be cooked on a griddle or iron skillet as a large hoecake. When one side is cooked, slide off on a plate and flip to cook other side.