Food Gifts for Friends and Neighbors & Cherry Almond Cake Recipe

19-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Tuesday, December 15, 1914: <<no entry>>

Front door decorated for Christmas

Source: Ladies Home Journal (December, 1913)

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

What was keeping Grandma so busy that she had no time to write in her diary? Maybe she was baking holiday treats to give friends and neighbors.

I have warm memories from my childhood of neighbors knocking on the door holding a tray of cookies, homemade plum pudding, or a tin of candy—and I’m guessing that food gifts were even more common a hundred years ago.

The many readers who are participating in the Bake-a-thon are giving Grandma a wonderful send-off to live the rest of her life as the diary winds down. As part of the Bake-a-thon, Pam (Quiall) at Butterfly Sand included a wonderful recipe for Cherry Almond Cake in a comment several days ago. Here’s her story and recipe.

My Mother and I would make several batches of Cherry Almond Cake. Some were small loaves for the neighbours and a big round one for us. Wonderful memories of Christmas,

CHERRY ALMOND CAKE

1 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup almonds
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 1/2 cups glazed cherries
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
4 eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 300 degrees

First:
Slice cherries and nuts (buy almonds already blanched and sliced). Combine 1/2 cup flour with cherries and almonds in bowl. Mix until fruit is well coated.

Second:
Combine remaining flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl.

Third:
Cream butter until fluffy, add flavourings. Gradually add sugar, mixing until creamy. Beat eggs until light and lemon-coloured. Add to creamed mixture. Beat together well.

Fourth:
Add dry ingredients to butter, etc., alternately with almonds and nuts, folding in gently until well combined. Add lemon juice and then milk.

Turn into prepared tin. Bake at 300 degrees for 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours.

If using small loaf pans (4 will do) bake for 1 hour and then check. Time will vary because of the size of the loaves.

Candy Cane Memories

Sheryl:

Friday, December 11, 1914 :<<no entry>>
Readers participating in Grandma’s Bake-a-thon have shared many wonderful memories. We are giving Grandma a great send-off to live the rest of her life after the diary ends.

Today I’d like to share the awesome post that Sharon at Dirndl Skirt Gatherings did about her memories of baking Candy Cane Cookies with her mother.

One of the things that I most enjoy about Dirndl Skirt Gatherings is how Sharon infuses her art and artist’s perspective into many posts. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the post to see her awesome holiday drawing of a woman wearing a candy cane skirt.

Originally posted on Dirndl Skirt Gatherings:

Bettcandycan

credit: Me and My Green Bin

Growing up in the early 1960s, and being a kind of girly-girl, I do remember I liked my food pink. And sugary. When standing in line with my mom at Acme Supermarket, the impulse buy of choice near the cash register was those awful (to me now) pink marshmallow cookies with white coconut sprinkles. This was before red dye #2 was banned.

vintage mom &amp; me

My mother, Shirley, and me in her state-of-the-art kitchen, 1957.

But at Christmas time, we made cookies. Mom did like to bake, if not actually cook. (Hey, it was the Atomic Age, and she had better things to do, like paint!) One of my favorites from that era was candy cane cookies. We had to divide the dough, and color one half. Then keep it moist until we twisted the braids together and curved them into the cane hook. Some baking…

View original 139 more words

Christmas Fudge

Sheryl:

Thursday, December 10, 1914:  <no entry>

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Many readers of A Hundred Years Ago are participating in Grandma’s Bake-a-thon, and are sharing a family recipe story that is special to them. This Bake-a-thon is being held to give Grandma a wonderful send-off to live the rest of her life after the diary ends. On several days when Grandma didn’t write anything, I plan to reblog some of those stories.

Today, I’m featuring a post by Lillian at Lillian’s Cupboard. She directed me to a wonderful post she wrote about Christmas Fudge.

Originally posted on Lillian's Cupboard:

During the rationing of World War II, we children craved sugar

As we watched Mother sprinkle carefully measured spoonsful over our oatmeal.

We wanted more sweetness in our hot chocolate, in our pudding;

We longed for a bottomless sugar bowl.

But in the fall Mother stood in long lines that coiled around the city tenements

To get an extra bag of sugar allotted for canning and preserving.

She squirreled this away until Christmas

When it was transformed into the most glorious pecan studded fudge,

Sweet enough to make up for a whole year of rationing.

“Christmas Fudge”, by Lillian – 1997

My mother was famous in our family for her homemade fudge, made without benefit of a candy thermometer and cooked and beaten until it was perfect.  Then, it was placed in a special rose-bedecked tin to be brought out on Christmas Eve, opened and squares of never-to-be-forgotten goodness placed…

View original 325 more words

Baking Failures Can Make Wonderful Memories

19-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Sunday, December 6, 1914: <<no entry>>

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

As we send Grandma off to live the rest of her life with the Bake-a-thon, I had an “ah ha” moment. Sometimes our best baking memories are the failures rather than the successes.

I recently told Uncle Carl (Grandma’s son) about my plans for the Bake-a-thon. He thought for a moment and then said:

You know, Mom’s cookies weren’t always the best. She’d burn them.

When, she did that, she’d say, “They’ll go.”

And, they did “go” because kids were always hungry.

Mom used that expression without any sense of guilt in burning them.  We were grateful to get them, and they were still very good, as was the homemade bread, which never seemed to get burned.

You must remember they were baked in the oven of a coal or wood fired stove without any thermometer.  That requires quite a bit of guess work.

Uncle Carl’s comment made me think about my first draft of the post I did about my memories of baking cookies. It originally included a paragraph about the time we forgot to put baking powder into the chocolate cookies. (It was a too many cooks thing).

After I’d written that paragraph, I decided that a story about a cookie failure didn’t belong in a post about baking memories so I deleted it. I now realize that I should have kept that paragraph.

Both baking successes and baking failures have the makings of wonderful memories.

How to Participate in Grandma’s Bake-a-thon

19-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Saturday, December 5, 1914:  <<no entry>>

Picture Source: Wikimedia Commons

Picture Source: Wikimedia Commons

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Grandma’s growing up. We’ve followed her life daily for the last four years—but she’s slowly losing interest in writing in her diary, and it ends on December 29, 1914. I’d like to use some of the remaining days of this blog to give Grandma a wonderful send-off to live the rest of her life.

So many wonderful memories of my grandmother are linked to food—and I think that if she was still around that she’d enjoy hearing other people’s stories of a holiday treat that they associate with one of their ancestors.

To celebrate Grandma’s transition to the next stage of her life, I’m organizing an event: Grandma’s Bake-a-thon.

To participate in the Bake-a-thon make an old family recipe, and share the story of why this recipe holds special memories for you.

You may want to tell your family and friends the recipe’s story; or share the recipe on your blog or Facebook page, in your Christmas letter, or by writing a comment on A Hundred Years Ago–whatever is most meaningful to you.

If you’re not a baker, you don’t need to actually make anything—just think about a favorite holiday treat and the person that you associate it with—and share the story.

Let the Bake-a-thon begin!

Old-fashioned Fall Fruit Compote Recipe

19-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Tuesday, November 10, 1914:  <<no entry>>Fall fuirt compote 2

 

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Since Grandma didn’t write anything a hundred years ago today, I t thought you might enjoy an old compote recipe that uses Fall fruits.

Old-Fashioned Fall Fruit Compote

3 pears

3 apples

3/4 cup raisins

1 1/2 cup cider

1/2 cup water

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

2 tablespoons cornstarch

Core pears and apples (but do not peel); then cut into 1-inch cubes. Combine cubed pears and apples, raisins, cider, water,  cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar in large saucepan. Bring to a boil using medium heat. Reduce heat and cook for another 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat; drain using a colander, saving save the liquid. Combine the reserved liquid with the cornstarch; and return to saucepan. Using medium heat, reheat while stirring constantly until the liquid thickens. Remove from heat, and combine with the cooked fruit. Cool and serve.

Makes 4-5 servings

Unfermented Communion Wine Recipe

19-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Sunday, September 20, 1914: <<no entry>>

communion cups a

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Since Grandma didn’t write anything a hundred years ago today, I thought you might enjoy this recipe that I found in a hundred-year-old central Pennsylvania cookbook for unfermented communion wine.

Grandma attended a Baptist church—and 1914 was the era  right before prohibition when the temperance movement was at its peak—so my guess is that her church used grape juice (or “unfermented communion wine”) for communion.

Unfermented Communion Wine

Stem fifteen pounds grapes, boil in three quarts water until they come to pieces, then press out the juice, add four and one-half pounds of sugar, boil, skin and can or bottle the same as fruit.

Lycoming Valley Cook Book compiled by the Ladies of Trout Run M.E. Church Trout Run PA (1907) reprinted by Williamsport Printing and Binding Co. (1992)

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