Detours: Get the Grist

By Christie Matheson | |

Maine has lobster. Vermont has cheddar. And Rhode Island has johnnycakes.


Maine has lobster. Vermont has cheddar. And Rhode Island has johnnycakes. These hearty pancake-like treats, which have a crispy crust on the outside, taste delicious served plain or with butter and honey. They’re a culinary staple in New England’s smallest state, and a nod to the area’s Native American heritage. They contain cornmeal, sugar, salt and water; those who like thinner cakes might also like to add a little milk.

What’s the best way to make johnnycakes at home? Kenyon’s Grist Mill has been grinding cornmeal for more than a century. Located in an 1886 mill in Usquepaugh, a small village in South Kingstown, the company uses old-fashioned, Native American-inspired grinding techniques to produce their cornmeal. They also make a variety of flours and pancake mixes in such flavors as honey buckwheat, and carry Rhode Island delicacies like quahogs (the state’s official shellfish), Indian pudding, Rhode Island honey and coffee syrup (used to make coffee milk, the state’s official drink).

Though the mill isn’t open for tours, you can try out some of its tempting fare at local festivals, including the Eastern States Exposition in September.

>> For more information, call 401-783-4054 or visit www.kenyonsgristmill.com.