Cornmeal was often a staple of the Ozark hillfolk diet, being worked into many different shapes and forms. One in particular was the “corn dodger” which was something like cornbread, but baked into logs rather than in a round cast-iron skillet. Corn dodger’s even mentioned in the Ozark folk song “State of Arkansas”:
I followed my conductor into his dwelling place,
There misery and starvation could be seen on every face,
His bread it was corn dodger, his meat I could not chaw,
But he charged me half a dollar in the state of Arkansas.
He fed me on corn dodger, as hard as any rock,
Until my teeth were awful loose and my knees began to knock,
I grew so thin on sassafras tea, I couldn’t hide behind a straw,
And indeed I was a different man when I left Arkansas.
Corn dodger, much like cornbread in general, was often seen as the food of the poor folks.
Here’s an easy recipe for corn dodger in case you’d like to make some at home:
1 1/2 c. yellow cornmeal
1 c. boiling water
1 tbsp. shortening
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. cream
1 tsp. baking powder
Pour boiling water over mixture of cornmeal, shortening and salt. Cool. Add 1 tablespoon cream with 1 teaspoon baking powder. Make into oblong cakes. Press fingers across cakes to make ridges. Bake at 425 degrees until crisp.