George Washington’s birthday in Virginia

If you’ve got a three-day week-end off, then Virginia is the place to visit.  You’ll find a list of events in celebration of George Washington’s birthday.

If you can’t make the trip to Virginia,  why don’t you  cook up some Hoe cakes  in your own kitchen , on an iron griddle for the best taste.

Recipes for “Hoe cakes” are at the bottom of this post.


General George will be greeting guest to his 297th birthday party this weekend at
the Mount Vernon Estate.

ALEXANDRIA, VA. – George Washington’s hometown has never been short on celebrations honoring the birthday of its first president.

Hoecakes swimming in butter at Mount Vernon? Check.

A Massive parade in Old Town? Check.

The nation’s first president will be honored on the 279th anniversary of his birth with a parade in his hometown of Alexandria on Monday, February 21 from 1 to 3 p.m. in Old Town.

Photo by John Arundel <br />Historic Mount Vernon presents a Surprise Birthday Party for General Washington daily through the weekend<br />
Photo by John Arundel
Historic Mount Vernon presents a Surprise Birthday
Party for General Washington daily through
the weekend

The George Washington Birthday Parade, the largest and oldest in the country celebrating this Founding Father, will wind its way through the historic streets of Old Town where Washington lived, worshiped and conducted business.

Annually the parade includes thousands of participants including historical, community and youth groups, bands, horses and canines. Spectators line the brick sidewalks along the one-mile parade route.

Events throughout the weekend in Alexandria will celebrate Washington’s legacy with an historic reenactment at Fort Ward Park, the Birthnight Banquet & Ball at Gadsby’s Tavern, a 10-K race, the first ever one-mile race just before the parade, plus free admission to historic sites on parade day.

Historic Mount Vernon presents a Surprise Birthday Party for General Washington daily through the weekend.
Saturday and Sunday, February 19 and 20
Breakfast with George Washington at Historic Mount Vernon
9 a.m. to noon, while supplies last

George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens, 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy.
Included in regular admission

Celebrate George Washington’s birthday by joining the General for breakfast as he enjoys his favorite morning meal, “hoecakes swimming in butter and honey,” cooked over an open fire (while supplies last).

Pull up a hay bale and chat with the Father of Our Country about politics, farming, the Revolutionary War, and life in the 18th century.

Following the breakfast sampling, families can participate in a “Surprise Birthday Party” for General Washington that includes rousing birthday cheers and a serenade, patriotic music and more.

February 6 – 12
Third Annual Cherry Challenge
Throughout Alexandria
Alexandria restaurants are creating unique menu items featuring cherries in celebration of one of the most cherished legends surrounding George Washington. Each restaurant will develop its own cherry cocktail, appetizer, entrée, or dessert. Try them all and vote for your favorite. Winners are given special recognition at the George Washington Birthday Parade. Participating restaurants include Dishes of India, Fontaine Caffe and Creperie, Food Matters, Hank’s Oyster Bar, King Street Blues Old Town, Murphy’s Irish Pub, Pizzaiolo Café, Ramparts, Seagar’s Restaurant (Hilton Old Town), Shooter McGee’s, St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub, Tempo and The Light Horse.

Recipe:   Hoe Cakes

Hoe cakes are similar to pancakes but prepared with cornmeal instead.

  • 2 cups corn meal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • oil for frying

Put the tea kettle on to boil. In a large bowl combine the corn meal and salt. When the water boils, measure it in a metal or tempered-glass measuring cup. Pour the boiling water over the cornmeal and stir it up. The cornmeal will swell up, absorbing the water, and making a very thick mash.

Heat some oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. You can use as little as two tablespoon of oil per panful, but it is a little easier to use 4 or 5 tablespoons of oil for each panful. Use your waistline and frying skill as the final judge. Now scoop up a little of the cornmeal mush (about 1/4-cup) and shape it into a patty. It will still be warm from the boiling water, so be careful not to burn yourself. You can let it cool down some more first if you like. Plop the patty into the hot fat, and get it to frying. Make some more, until you have a whole pan full. I usually cook about 4 or 5 at a time. When the underside is crispy brown, turn them and cook the other side. When both sides are crispy and brown, transfer them to a plate to keep warm, and start another batch. This recipe makes about 12 hoe cakes.

Originally, Native Americans cooked these on hot rocks in an open fire. They were commonly referred to as Ash Cakes. Later on, settlers from Europe adopted the recipe, cooking the cakes on the blades of their hoes in the fireplace. This is where they get the name, “Hoe Cakes”. Of all the recipes in my collection, this one is the oldest, the cheapest, and just about the tastiest of all. Serve Hoe Cakes with as a bread, or by themselves for breakfast with maple syrup or molasses. They also make a nice accompaniment to main meals, especially when fried in margarine. In the summertime, when you want a hot bread, but don’t want to heat up the oven, this is the best choice. They cook right on top of the stove, without heating up the entire house. Good for camping and back packing too.

Another favorite southern bread recipe are biscuits. My biscuit mix made from white flour makes it easy to bake up a batch of them for breakfast or dinner.

Paula Deen’s recipe for Hoe Cakes

HoecakesRecipe Courtesy of Paula Deen

These hoecakes have always been one of my signature dishes.

Servings: 16 hoecakes (give or take)
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 15 min
Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients Add to grocery list

Oil, butter, or clarified margarine, for frying
1/4 cup vegetable oil or bacon grease
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
3/4 cup buttermilk
2   eggs
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup self-rising cornmeal, or from a mix (recommended: Aunt Jemima’s)
1 cup self-rising flour


Mix all ingredients together, except for the frying oil, in a bowl until well combined. Heat the frying oil or butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Drop the batter into the hot skillet. Use about 2 tablespoons of batter per hoecake (pancake).  Fry each hoecake until brown and crisp; turn each hoecake with a spatula, and then brown the other side. With a slotted spoon, remove each hoecake to drain on a paper towel-lined plate.

Chef’s Note: Leftover batter will keep in refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Recipe courtesy Paula Deen

%d bloggers like this: