Colonial Food - Johnny Cakes: American History for Kids

My daughter made johnny cakes and put together a cookbook.

America was made up of people from many different nations. When people immigrated to America they frequently brought along favorite family recipes. Often recipes would be altered depending on ingredients available in the New World. Perhaps that's how johnny cakes were invented. They are basically corn pancakes.

While studying American Colonial History, we read the book USKids American Colonies which contained many stories of early colonists as well as suggested activities.

Johnny Cakes

Most of the American Colonists ate simple, natural, whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, meat and corn. Johnny cakes were a staple food throughout early America. Although there are many variations, the main ingredient is corn. Made with cornflour, milk, egg, salt, oil, wheat flour and water mixed together, they are fried on the stove top or over an open fire on a griddle. Like bread, they could be stored for several days and made convenient traveling food.

My daughter made johnny cakes several times adding bananas and blueberries to later batches to sweeten them up a bit.

Since colonists brought along recipes and my daughter was doing a variety of activities which involved cooking, she put together her own cookbook. This is a great project in connection with a history study, but also works well on its own as it can incorporate many subjects. From the science of baking, to the cultural study of foods, to writing, and back to science through creation of personal recipes, creating a cookbook is perfect for kids. In addition, they can use their personal cookbook to prepare a future family meal giving them a sense of great achievement.

 To create her cookbook my daughter photo copied and cut out recipes she had prepared at least once.

Then she put them into a three ring binder and added some fancy paper. I was happy to see her refer back to her cookbook several times to prepare dishes.

Check out these great blog hops for more educational activity ideas. 


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