Madame L has eaten hoecakes before, but never knew the origin of their name.
Now, in a story from Slate.com, Madame L finds that they weren't originally cooked by slaves, on a hoe, over a fire, but cooked in a griddle, which was sometimes called a hoe.
Emily Horton writes, "A hoecake is cornbread made minimalist—a thin, unleavened round made
from the simplest batter (cornmeal, water, and salt), crisp at the
edges, glistening on both sides from the fat it was fried in, golden in
patches. Inside, it’s dense but creamy, a foil for its best
partners—creamed corn, silky braised greens, honey. A hoecake should be
sturdy enough to work as a shovel for whatever is on the plate, but
delicate enough to be appealing on its own."
Ms. Horton includes a recipe for real Southern hoecakes and a photo that makes Madame L really want to make some. But instead of using Ms. Horton's photo, Madame L is going to use her recipe to make some hoecakes, take a photo of them, and post the photo here later.
Here's the article where Ms. Horton got her information on the origin of the word "hoecake." The article shows a picture of a cooking implement called a "hoe," which does indeed look like a griddle; and traces the etymology of the word "hoecake" back before slaves in North America may have been using garden tools to cook with.