Nothing makes Times Food editor Russ Parsons feel like a dad more than cooking a good breakfast. Not some fancy menu full of hollandaise and cream sauce, either, but hearty, home-style food, such as the cornmeal pancakes from the 1943 edition of the "Joy of Cooking." Though the author, Irma Rombauer, a good Midwesterner, wasn't one to sing the praises of her recipes, she does describe this one as "delicate and good." They certainly are. The trick here is pre-cooking the cornmeal by covering it with boiling water for 10 minutes. That softens it just enough to give the meal a tender texture. Serve this with good maple syrup, or with homemade jam.
2 to 4
Adapted from the 1943 "Joy of Cooking" by Irma Rombauer
1 cup white or yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
1 to 2 tablespoons honey, sugar or syrup
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1. Combine the cornmeal,
salt, butter and honey in a large, heavy bowl. Pour the boiling water over the top and whisk well to combine. Cover tightly and let stand at least 10 minutes.
2. Measure the milk
into a measuring cup. Add the egg and beat well with a fork until smooth. Stir this into the cornmeal mixture.
3. Sift together
the flour and baking powder and stir into the cornmeal mixture with a few swift strokes.
4. Heat the griddle
until a few drops of water dance and skitter across the surface. Butter or grease the griddle lightly, then pour the batter in one-third cup measures. Cook until bubbles stop appearing and the top surface appears slightly dry, about 3 minutes. Turn and cook just until the center feels set and no longer liquid, 1 to 3 more minutes. This makes about 8 pancakes.
5. Serve immediately
with syrup or jam, or keep warm on a cookie sheet in a 200-degree oven.
Each of 4 servings: