by Sandra Merville Hart
I recently read On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Her family moved to Minnesota when she was seven and first stayed in a sod house built into the creek bank. The details of everyday life in the 1870s fascinated me.
The Ingalls family was very poor and often ate corn dodgers. In fact, the author mentioned them so often that I searched for a recipe.
As I suspected, they are similar—yet different—to corn muffins. These are baked on a cookie sheet in mounds.
I had some coarse ground cornmeal that I used to make this recipe, which I believe is more authentic to the times than the finely ground cornmeal we all know.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Mix together 2 cups cornmeal, 1 teaspoon of salt, and a tablespoon of lard (I used vegetable shortening.)
Pour 2 cups of boiling water into the cornmeal mixture and stir well. The batter is thick but if you have trouble stirring it, add a little more water.
Prepare a cookie sheet, well-greased with shortening or butter or use cooking spray.
Scoop the batter into mounds on the cookie sheet. The center of the dodgers is “quite high.”
I used 1/3 cup of batter for each one to make 6 dodgers.
Bake about 25 minutes until lightly browned.
I really liked these dodgers. They’re heartier than corn muffins and more filling. We ate them as a side with soup for supper. It was a nice change from cornbread and biscuits.
These took only about five minutes to put together—and most of that was waiting for the water to boil! It’s quick and easy and a bit of a novelty because, well, I’ve never eaten one before. Maybe it’s a new recipe for you, too!
Compiled from Original Recipes. Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping, Applewood Books, 1877.