hoecake n : thin usually unleavened johnnycake made of cornmeal; originally baked on the blade of a hoe over an open fire (Southern)
EtymologySo called because the cake was often cooked on a hoe.
QuotationsIn Jean Fritz's children's book George Washington's Breakfast the protagonist finds out that George Washington may have eaten hoecakes for breakfast.
- Webster 1913}}
Hoecake is a type of cornbread/bread made of cornmeal or unleavened flour, salt and water, which is very thin in texture, and fried in cooking oil in a skillet. It became known as "hoecake" because field hands often cooked it on a shovel or hoe held to an open flame. Hoes designed for cotton fields were large and flat with a hole for the long handle to slide through. The blade would be removed and placed over a fire much like a griddle.
Hoecake is notably the namesake of the cakewalk dance form. During the 19th century, slaveholders would hold dance competitions for their slaves, offering hoecake as a reward to the winner. Then known as the chalk line dance, the form became known as the cakewalk when it rose to prominence with the advent of ragtime music.
The hoecake is also known as the johnny-cake, the Shawnee cake, the ash cake, and the no cake.
FictionIn Jean Fritz's children's book George Washington's Breakfast the protagonist finds out that George Washington did eat hoecakes for breakfast.
In Isaac Asimov's novel Second Foundation, a peasant family on the planet Rossem is preparing hoecake for their meal.