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Food and travel captivate Janet Podolak, who chronicles both for The News-Herald. Get the back story of her three decades of stories here. Guest bloggers and fellow News-Herald staffers also periodically share details of their trips.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Johnnycake baking skills sought

The original johnnycake helped settlers survive, but today it's a road and a race.

Scouts and others who cook outdoors may wish to polish up their johnnycake making skills and enter a contest being sponsored by the Lake County History Center.

Scene from a 2011 Civil War encampment
Johnnycake plays a time-honored role in Lake County as the name of a highway, a golf course and a race. But in the early 1800s it was a staple food that could be made en route by settlers coming to this area. The combination of corn meal. flour, milk and butter typically was cooked in a lidded cast iron pan with hot coals underneath and on top of the lid. It could harden without spoiling and be made more palatable by softening with liquid.

Those who have been on a field trip to the History Center's Pioneer School learned how to make johnnycake the old time way.

The contest, which the history center hopes to make into a summertime tradition,  takes place on Saturday July 14 at the start of  a living history weekend devoted to the Civil War. Adults teams of three and youth teams of four (which can include two adults) will prepare their johnnycake outdoors, bringing a grill for coals, and use a cast iron pan for the job. Winners will be awarded cash prizes and gift cards.

Things get started with prep work at 9:30 a.m. in the history center kitchen and conclude with the judging at 11:30 a.m. by none other than President Lincoln, General Grant and General Casement, who all have roles in the weekend history event at 415 Riverside Drive in Painesville Township..

To register, learn about entry fees and other specifics call  the history center at 440-639-2945.

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