Said to be the pancake's precursor, the johnnycake dates back to the early 1700s. It's a rather flat griddlecake made of cornmeal, salt and either boiling water or cold milk; there are strong advocates of both versions. Eggs, oil or melted butter and leavening (such as baking powder) are also often added. Some renditions are oven-baked, more like traditional cornbread. Also called hoe cake or hoecake.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.