Makes about 18.
Note: Texture and taste set the corn dodger apart from ordinary cornbread. When made with stone-ground cornmeal, true dodgers have a crisp crust with a tender interior. Choose stone-ground cornmeal, which uses a traditional process that produces a coarser meal with the kernel's hull and germ mostly intact. It has more of a "corn" ﬂavor than regular mass-produced cornmeal. Stone-ground cornmeal is more perishable and should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer. Allow ample time for the cornmeal-hot water mixture to cool and swell, and then for the dodgers to cook through in the skillet. From "Abraham Lincoln in the Kitchen," by Rae Katherine Eighmey.
• 2 c. coarse cornmeal, preferably stone-ground (and maybe more)
• 1⁄2 tsp. salt
• 1 tbsp. melted butter or bacon drippings, plus more for cooking
• 1 1⁄2 c. boiling water
• 1⁄3 c. regular cornmeal, optional
Mix the coarse cornmeal and salt in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in the butter or drippings. Pour the boiling water over the fat and stir carefully and thoroughly. Set aside to cool, 20 to 30 minutes. This should make a loose dough that you can form into dodgers shaped like ears of corn. Cornmeals vary, so you may need to add a bit more water or, if the mixture is too wet, add up to 1⁄4 cup regular cornmeal. In making these additions, begin by adding less than you think necessary.
To cook on the stovetop: Form the dodgers by placing about 2 tablespoons of dough in the palm of one hand and gently press the dough into an oval about 2 inches long and 1 inch wide. Put an 8- to 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, melt about 1 tablespoon butter or drippings in the pan.
Carefully place 6 of the formed dodgers in the hot skillet; don't crowd them. Lower the heat and cook until the bottoms are browned and the tops are ﬁrm and dry, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Turn over carefully and ﬁnish cooking until browned on both sides, another 5 to 7 minutes. (Note: It could take longer — up to 12 minutes on a side for the dodgers to be cooked correctly; be patient.) Repeat these steps with the remaining dodgers.
To bake: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Grease a baking sheet well. Form the dodgers as described above. Bake until ﬁrm throughout, 15 to 20 minutes.
Nutrition information per serving:
Calories 72 Fat 3 g Sodium 94 mg
Carbohydrates 10 g Saturated fat 2 g Calcium 2 mg
Protein 1 g Cholesterol 7 mg Dietary fiber 1 g
Diabetic exchanges per serving: ½ bread/starch, ½ fat.
WHITE FRICASSEE OF CHICKEN
Serves 6 to 8.
Note: Period cookbooks offer recipes for two kinds of chicken fricassee. For the "brown" fricassee version, the cook fries the chicken ﬁrst and then adds the cream sauce. Rae Katherine Eighmey, author of "Abraham Lincoln in the Kitchen," considers this "white" version, where the chicken is seasoned and simmered in cream or milk, to be more like the comforting home cooking Mary Lincoln knew would tempt Abraham's appetite. Some recipes call for adding a strip of lemon peel or mushrooms to the simmering sauce. This version is simply chicken, cream and a few seasonings. This is adapted from a cookbook that Mary Lincoln owned, published in 1845 by Miss Eliza Leslie, called "Fricassed Chickens."
• 1 whole chicken (3 to 4 lb.)
• 1⁄8 tsp. salt
• 1⁄2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
• 1⁄2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
• 1⁄4 tsp. ground mace
• 2 tsp. fresh marjoram or 1⁄2 tsp. dry leaves
• 1 1⁄2 c. cream, half-and-half, or milk
• 3 tbsp. butter
• 3 tbsp. ﬂour
• 1⁄4 c. thinly sliced ham, optional
Remove the skin from the chicken and discard. Cut the chicken into 8 pieces roughly the same size. Cut each leg joint to separate into thigh and drumstick pieces.
Working with the knife close to the rib cage on the ﬁrst side, cut breast and wing in 1 piece from the rib cage. Slice the breast into 2 pieces, leaving some breast meat attached to the wing end so the portions are of roughly equal size. Repeat with the other side.
Combine salt, pepper, nutmeg, mace and marjoram, and sprinkle on the meat. This is a ﬂavorful mix; you may want to use only half, reserving the rest for another time, or to incorporate into the sauce.
Place the chicken pieces in a large frying pan with a lid. Pour the cream, milk or mixture of both over the chicken, lifting the pieces to make sure it ﬂows under the chicken as well.
Cook over medium heat until the liquid begins to bubble, then lower the heat and cover. Simmer until the chicken is fork tender, about 30 minutes. Remove the chicken to a platter and keep warm. Mash the butter and ﬂour together with a fork and add, bit by bit, to the pan liquids. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until this sauce thickens.
Return the chicken to the sauce. Place thinly sliced ham around the edges of the platter, if desired. Serve with biscuits.
Nutrition information per each of 8 servings:
Calories 310 Fat 23 g Sodium 150 mg
Carbohydrates 4 g Saturated fat 13 g Calcium 47 mg
Protein 21 g Cholesterol 122 mg Dietary fiber 0 g
Diabetic exchanges per serving: ½ other carb, 3 lean meat, 3 fat.