A hoe-cake is a flat cake similar to a pancake that's made with cornmeal. Hoecakes originally come from the Native Americans. Later they were cooked by American farmers right on the end of their hoes over a fire.

You can find the actions that go with the rhyme below.

Snake Baked a Hoecake  - American Children's Songs - The USA - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World  - Intro Image


There are many little variations of this rhyme.

Here's an old version from "The Prairie Scout, or Agatone the Renegade: A Romance of Border Life" (1802) by Charles Wilkins Webber:

Snake baked de hoe-cake--
Set de Frog to mind it--
Frog went to sleep--
Lizard came and stole it.

Below is an interesting passage I found in a book from 1805 that includes a recipe for making hoecakes. The book is called "A Treatise on the Art of Bread-making" (1805) by Abraham Edlin.

To Make Indian Hoe Cake.
By Captain Smith.

"Take a peck of maize flour, knead it with a little salt and some water, into a dough; roll it out into thin cakes, and let them be baked on a hot broad iron hoe...

This bread is in common and daily use throughout the whole continent of North America. To strangers it has a harsh unpleasant taste, but the natives most commonly prefer it to wheaten bread..."

Later recipes for hoecakes often include sugar and flour. In the northern U.S. these are called Johnnycakes.

Game Instructions

1st Line: Mime moving dough from one hand to the other.
2nd Line: Put your hands facing up together side-by-side, move them down to a surface as if you're putting something down.
3rd Line: Put your hands together on the side of your face as if you're going to sleep.
4th Line: Move your fingers up and down and mime grabbing something.
5th – 6th Lines: Put out your pointer finger and move it forward and backward as if you're scolding someone.



Chanted by Mama Lisa.

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