In Barbara’s kitchen bible, the johnnycakes (sometimes spelled “jonnycakes”) are thick and the chowder is thin. Barbara claims that the best purebred white flint corn variety for johnnycakes – Narragansett whitecap – can be grown only in Rhode Island, “like Vidalia onions only grow in Georgia.” Her brands of choice for cornmeal are Kenyon’s, Gray’s, and Carpenter’s.
In a medium bowl, whisk together cornmeal, salt, and sugar. Whisk in boiling water until it becomes the consistency of loose mashed potatoes. Whisk in milk. The batter will thicken as it cools. Heat and grease a griddle to medium-high heat (Barbara uses an electric griddle, set at 365°). Place large spoonfuls (about 3 tablespoons) of batter onto the griddle and brown, about 5 minutes on each side.