Chuck and I went to an event at Monticello a couple of years ago and had hoe cakes that were made by a food historian. I thought they were corn meal and water cooked in grease. I have been looking for a recipe for proportions and all the recipes I can find use milk, too.
This seems to be the closest recipe to what we had at Monticello. I will tweak it as I use it. (http://whatscookingamerica.net/History/Johnnycakes.htm):
1 cup white cornmeal
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1/2 cup milk
Bacon drippings (I think I’ll use vegetable oil)
In a medium bowl, place cornmeal and salt.
In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring water to a rapid boil; remove from heat. With the saucepan in one hand, let the boiling water dribble onto the cornmeal while stirring constantly with the other hand. Then stir the milk into the mixture (it will be fairly thick, but not runny).
Generously grease a large, heavy frying pan with the oil and heat. When pan is hot, drop the batter by spoonfuls. Flatten the batter with a spatula to a thickness of approximately 1/4 inch. Fry until golden brown, turn, and brown on the other side (adding more oil as needed).