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As far back as the oldest Hatteras resident can remember, pone bread has been considered a treat. It was first cooked in fireplaces, in iron pots, with hot coals on the lids, and later, in modern ovens. No camp meeting was complete without several of these, and not many Sundays passed without each home having a pone bread, cooked the day before.
This bread packs well and keeps for a week or more (if well hidden). Most families have passed their own recipes down to their daughters, and some vary in the amount of sugar and shortening used, and the size of the pan, to regulate the thickness.
In the days before freezers and short hunting seasons, all the thrifty islanders had a barrel of salted wild fowl, which made an excellent stew, and its gravy was enjoyed over the pone bread. Any gravy is good with it, however, so choose your own favorite to serve with this Cape Hatteras tradition.
3 cups meal
5 cups boiling water (1 more may be needed, if too thick)
2/3 cup cold water
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
2/3 cup flour
2 tablespoons shortening
Scald meal with boiling water, in deep mixing bowl. Stir well and add salt, sugar, molasses and cold water. Blend in flour, mix well, cover and let stand at room temperature from 10 to 12 hours (overnight, or all day).
In a Dutch oven, a 3 qt. iron, Pyrex, or other heavy baking pan, melt the shortening and pour in the batter. Bake two hours in a 375°F. oven.
Reduce oven temperature to 300°F. and continue to bake for another hour, with lid on pan. If oven is not needed, turn it off and leave covered pan in for an hour or more longer.
Can be cooled outside, still covered, but some claim it’s not as good.
This is delicious with any/roast and gravy, sliced and served cold.
Recipe by: Mrs. Rebecca Burrus, Dare County, North Carolina
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