[Note: This entry was previously john constant.]
Johnny Constant n Also John Constant, Jonny ~ Sth, S Midl ?obs Cf Billy Seldom n, Christ-dust n
Cornmeal or corn bread.
1864 in 1996 Owen Letters to Laura 144 TN, We get plenty of Old Jonny Constant that is corn bread, if you dont know the name. Billy Seldom is very scarce now with us. 1881 Gastonia Gaz. (NC) 26 Nov /4 (newspaperarchive.com), If the incoming season should prove favorable to small grain, and there is anything in the quantity sown, “cake bread” will certainly be cheap even if “johnny constant” should prove fickle. 1884 Baldwin Yankee School-Teacher 49 VA, “John Constant” or corn-meal is the usual week-day “staff of life.” Ibid 50 [Black], I don’t see how dey could live ’thout John Constant. 1896 (1897) Hughes 30 Yrs. a Slave 15 MS (as of 1844), The next attraction for me was the farm hands getting their Christmas rations. Each was given a pint of flour of which they made biscuit, which were called “Billy Seldom,” because biscuit were very rare with them. Their daily food was corn bread, which they called “Johnny Constant,” as they had it constantly. 1905 Moulton Eagle (TX) 15 Sept /5 (newspaperarchive.com) (as of 1840s), The first barrel of flour that I saw father gave . . $35 worth of deer hides for it, and he would not let us eat it only on Sunday for breakfast. Brother Jim called it “Billy Seldom,” and called cornbread “Johnny Constant.” 1910 Joplin News–Herald (MO) 7 Aug 9/6 (as of 1840s), We had corn bread every day and wheat biscuits on Sunday mornings when I was a girl. Corn bread was called ‘Johnny Constant,’ and wheat bread ‘Tom Seldom.’ 1957 Kitchens Trickem 92 swAR (as of 1900–10), We called biscuits, Bill Sildom, and cornbread, John Constant because we seldom had biscuits and constantly had cornbread.