Not until I read the Joy of Cooking many years ago, did I realize that there was a recipe for Senate Bean Soup which is served every day at the Senate Restaurant. At the request of a couple senators back in 1903, the tradition of serving bean soup had begun and still remains. I suppose those men had a hankerin' for their wives' home cooking. Common as it is, bean soup is comfort food, the food that says "home."
I suppose everybody has their version of "Johnny cake" but ours is just a simple cornbread made in a cast iron skillet. I did a little research a long while back and Johnny cake might have been a version of what was once called journey cake. It could be whipped up easily while on a journey because the ingredients were basic. Cornmeal, water, salt. Likely it was not as delicious as our version of cornbread, but if you had a little molasses or honey to drizzle over it, I'm sure it tasted mighty good on the wagon trail.
1 c. flour
1 c. cornmeal
3 T. sugar
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/4 c. melted butter or oil
1 c. sour milk or butter milk*
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
While you prepare the batter, grease a medium sized cast iron skillet on the stovetop on medium heat.
Combine all ingredients together in a bowl.
Pour into hot skillet and bake for about 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
* Make sour milk by adding a tsp. of vinegar to milk.
There are only thirty head of ewes in the barn tonight. We think we will be finished lambing by early next week. It's a good thing too because I'm getting tired of my night shift. I took a two hour nap this afternoon before walking up to the Big Shed. It was 43 beautiful degrees today. Oh, for the love of warmth!
It was a joy to come in the house after evening chores to a crock pot of hot bean soup. I had a bowl and a half and two helpings of cornbread with butter and honey. MmmMmmm.