Jenny Get Your Hoe Cake by the 2nd South Carolina String Band

 This song was written in 1840 by Joel Walker Sweeney. It was published with the title, “Jenny Get Your Hoe Cake Done, the Celebrated banjo song, as sung with great Applause at the Broadway Circus” [US Library of Congress].

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term hoecake first occurred in 1745 and got its name from the method of preparation.

According to history, cotton was the main farm product around 1745, and the hoes designed for cotton fields were large and flat with a hole for the long handle to slide through.  When it was time to eat, a fire was made and allowed to burn to coals.  The blade of the hoe was washed and the handle was taken off.  The workers would then make a mixture of corn meal, water and salt while fat back was used to oil the hoe. After placing the hoe blade on the hot coals,  cake mixture was placed on the hoe and cooked, therefore the name hoecake.

This white or yellow mixture has also been called a johnnycake and was an early American staple food.  It can also be cooked on a board, skillet or pan over a fire.

You can also view the Original Sheet Music

 

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