Instructions: Place cornmeal, salt and baking soda, if using, into a large, shallow bowl or glass baking dish. Add hot water and stir until you have a stiff batter.
Heat 2 tablespoons bacon drippings in a large, heavy skillet, preferably cast iron. The drippings should get hot but not smoke.
Scoop out 1 heaping tablespoon of batter at a time, flatten top and bottom, then lay gently in hot skillet. Fry cakes about 1 1/2 minutes on each side, turning once. Make sure they are nicely browned. Transfer them to a plate lined with paper towels. Add more drippings and continue cooking cakes. Adjust heat as necessary. Serve hot.
These cakes are excellent with fried fish or collard greens. Or serve as a breakfast bread with butter, molasses or Alaga syrup.
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