Ash Cake and Hard Times and John’s Island.

Charleston,S.C is my home town.Growing up in that great historic city,I had an interest in a place called,John’s Island.The book,”Ain’t you got a right to the tree of life?”is a book about the people of John’s Island,South Carolina-Their Faces,Their Words,and their Songs.(The University of Georgia Press,Athens,Ga. 30602).

When Mrs.Janie Hunter was interviewed she said:

Ash cake is something you bake in the chimbley:

Way back yonder the old lady and them had hard some hard times.Had to take water out the creek to cook with.They’d cook ash cake.Ash cake is something you cook in the chimbley-in the fire hearth.You have the fire hot and burn down to ashes.You mix the corn meal and you open the ashes and place the corn meal in the ashes.You haul the coals on it,and it come to a brown.After you take’em off the hearth you wash’em in something call dishpan and you put in on the table and let it cold.Cut it open with the knife,and you call that ash cake.

In the old time you couldn’t afford to buy coffee or tea.We’d take the corn off the cob,break the corn off the stalk and put it in the chimbley hearth and let it burn.You have a pot of water on the fire,and when the corn burn you drop it in the pot and that turn coffee.You drink that along with ash cake.For tea,you take grits and put a frying pan on the fire,let the grits parch ’til brown.Then you pour water in the pan and that turn tea.Call’em grits tea.

Yeah boy,we come throgh a great tribulation.But there’s freedom now.You can get anything with money.

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One Comment on “Ash Cake and Hard Times and John’s Island.”


  1. Wow, that’s really interesting! I’ve never heard of that, and I’ve been a South Carolinian for years. Thanks for posting this.


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