South County Feature



Long before European explorers arrived in the New World, Native Americans had been using ground corn for cooking. The Narragansett Indians are said to have shown Rhode Island's colonists how to make johnnycakes (sometimes spelled jonnycake). Essentially an unleavened cornmeal pancake, the johnnycake enjoys a special place among the state's distinctive cuisine. Many local restaurants offer them on their menus, typically for breakfast. They can be thin or thick and served with maple syrup, honey, fruit, or powdered sugar. To sample fresh-made johnnycakes, your best bet is to head to down-home diners.

Kenyon's Grist Mill. On the banks of the Queen's River, Kenyon's Grist Mill still grinds cornmeal for johnnycakes the old-fashioned way, with enormous granite millstones quarried from Westerly. Private tours approximately 1 to 1½ hours can be arranged. The mill hosts an annual johnnycake festival every October. Production continues through the winter, although the shop isn't open. 21 Glen Rock Rd., West Kingston, RI, 02892. 401/783–4054 or 800/753–6966. Tour $6. Mid-Apr.–Dec. weekdays 9–4, weekends 11–4.

Updated: 08-2013

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