Oh! The Places I’ve Been – “U” is for USQUEPAUGH


photo by M. Reynolds
photo by M. Reynolds

I love johnnycakes (or Johnny cakes). If you’re not from around here, you won’t know what I mean. Right?

Well, along the Usquepaugh River lies Kenyon’s Grist Mill, where the original granite millstones quarried from Westerly, RI, are used to grind whole wheat or corn into flour or cornmeal. According to Kenyon’s, “Single pass stone grinding also preserves the vital, natural nutrition of the grains.”  Kenyon’s has been grinding continuously on-site since 1696. 

So, back to johnnycakes. This traditional Rhode Island food dates back to the colonial time when Native American Indians introduced corn to the settlers.  At first, they were known as “Journey Cakes.”  Settlers often took them along on their journeys.  The “r” eventually got dropped (we Rhode Islanders love to drop the “r”) and “Journey Cakes” became, “Johnny Cakes.”

Here’s the traditional recipe for making johnnycakes. In my house, we never add maple syrup! My mom would make them to serve along with leftover lamb. So good. I like them for breakfast, with two eggs over easy, please.

If you’re around these parts in October, come to the Johnnycake Festival!

photo by M. Reynolds
photo by M. Reynolds
photo by M. Reynolds
photo by M. Reynolds
photo by M. Reynolds
photo by M. Reynolds
photo by M. Reynolds
photo by M. Reynolds

The End of the Week and Month


photo by Jim McVeigh

September 28th? Seriously? The calendar tells me so, as does the cool, damp day. My bare feet are cold, but I’m happy about that. Socks are good.

This week had a little of everything:

  • The plumber stopped by on Tuesday morning at 8:30 and departed at 3:00 in the afternoon. We thought it was a minor fix, and I still think it was, but the very nice guy really didn’t know what he was doing. He left at 9:00 to pick up a part and was gone for two hours. Then his boss showed up, presumably to do the aspect of the job the nice plumber couldn’t do. We were housebound. I’m used to that, spending most of my day indoors writing anyway, so it didn’t bother me all that much. We’re still better off than the neighbors, who bore the worst of it two and a half weeks ago when one of the underground pipes malfunctioned (I don’t know what happened –  it was blocked, it broke, whatever it was, it’s been a problem). They’re still not able to return home (we’re attached to each other as condo owners). How’s your infrastructure?
  • On Wednesday, we entertained my 80-year-old father-in-law all day. God love him, he’s a character. He thought it was one of the best days ever because he took us out to breakfast at the Beacon Diner (if you don’t know it, just picture your hometown diner, one you like). Heavy, salty breakfast – just the thing for people who work the fields all day. That’s not us. They do have great johnnycakes, though. Because he’s tethered to his portable oxygen tank, he really can’t do much other than sit, so he sat. All day. And we couldn’t leave him alone, so we sat with him, re-running episodes of Boardwalk Empire Season Two. I’m Nucky’d out. Then it was off to dinner. I needed a juice cleanse the next day.
  • I noticed that the person who had given my book a two-star review took it down. I didn’t really think it was justified, although I do accept that not everyone will like the book. Maybe she had a change of heart. Maybe she read my blog post about bad reviews.  Today I discovered that someone different (I hope, at least) had posted a two-star review. This woman, ‘Mommyofone,’ couldn’t even finish the book. Yikes.
  • Meanwhile, I plow ahead with my second novel and try to figure out what else I can do to get noticed. Maybe nothing. There are a lot of books out there, many of them very good, and I’m thinking maybe I need to get this second one out, have people like it (maybe I can convert “Mommyofone” to give me four stars). So, back to work.

Whatever you do this weekend to ring out September, make it memorable!