Wednesday, April 03, 2013

What George Washington Ate For Breakfast On Passover

A while back my Mother-in-Law gave our 8 year old a copy of George Washington's Breakfast. The book catalogs one curious kid's investigation into what George Washington used to eat for breakfast. Not to spoil the story, but the answer is tea and hoe cakes.

A hoe cake is ridiculously simple to make: combine 1 cup boiling water with 1 cup corn meal; let cool for 10 minutes; fry using copious amounts of oil. It's been on my TODO list to try this recipe out, but I've yet to do so.

With the last day of Passover here, I was thinking about what I could make that would be a bit different, and it occurred to me that I could convert the above hoe cake recipe into one that's Kosher for Passover.

So I gave it a try. I fired up the frying pan with some oil; combined 1 cup of matzo meal with 1 cup boiling water; let the mixture cool for 10 minutes; formed it into 3 inch wide and half inch thick patties and dropped it in the pan. As it cooked away, I added more oil, as that was clearly the magic ingredient.

After about 15 minutes of cooking, I pronounced them finished. I expected the outside to be a greasy mess, and the inside to be bland an uncooked. To my shock and amazement, they actually tasted good (such is the joy of low expectations). True, I had effectively made Matzo Meal Pancakes minus all the things that make them tasty (eggs and sugar, right?), but they worked. Our 8 year old enjoyed them, and tonight at bedtime requested them again tomorrow (alas, with that much oil, this is going to be a some-times treat.)

I definitely have an affinity for the simple and clever, and I'd say this two ingredient creation that can be cooked on the back of a garden implement qualifies. (Alas, the "hoe" in hoe cake doesn't really refer to the gardening tool. But it could!)

There was also some nice symbolism to eating a food slaves actually consumed on a holiday that recalls slavery. Heck, one of the main reasons we eat Matzo at all on Passover is the simple nature of the food, and how it would be accessible to slaves. Perhaps I should try to talk Shira and David into incorporating hoe cakes into our next Seder? Yeah, probably not going to happen.

With such a simple set of ingredients, I'm going to have to give this recipe a try on our next backpacking trip. Though, I think I'll leave the hoe at home and just use a frying pan (or better yet, a flat rock - yum!).

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