Monday, April 5, 2010

Looking at Lincoln's Life Through the Food He Ate

Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809. I decided to celebrate his 200th anniversary year by publishing a blog with one recipe a week for the time between his birth and his death on April 15, 1865. Each recipe has a short essay about events in his life and I've made each of the recipes so they are relatively easy to make in a modern kitchen.

The list below each picture is a kind of index to the essays and recipes. Please scroll down to find them. TO FIND INDIVIDUAL RECIPES:
You may simply scroll down through all the dishes 
Look in the lower righthand corner "Blog Archive." 
Click on the arrow pointing to "2009" and then click on the arrow next to the month and the recipe titles will appear. 
A click through there on the posting title will take you to each recipe. 


Recipes for February 2009
February 8 A Birthday Cake for Abraham Lincoln
Pioneer Cake with Dried Apples

February 15 Abe Lincoln and Kentucky Pumpkins
Pumpkin Butter

February 22 Gingerbread Men
Abe Lincoln’s Gingerbread Men

Recipes for March 2009
March 1 Chicken Cooked in the Army
Bacon-Basted Militia Chicken

March 8 New Salem Biscuits
Saleratus [baking soda] Biscuits

March 15 Political Barbecue Chicken
Oven-Cooked Slow Barbeque

March 23 Mary Todd’s Courting Cake
French Almond Cake

March 29 Cookies and Lincoln’s Springfield Home
1851 Cookies

Recipes for April 2009
April 6 The Comfort of Cornbread
Epicure’s Cornbread

April 13 Cakes Named for Abraham Lincoln
Lincoln Cake

Saturday, February 13, 2010

President's Day Special Price--$9.95

Abraham Lincoln in New Orleans.
Book is now available at regular price of $14.95
and $6.95 as a Kindle title.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A Lincoln Mystery Among the Cakes

I stumbled on a mystery while researching Lincoln’s life during this 200th anniversary year of his birth, and ended up writing a book to solve it.

In 1831, 22-year-old Abraham Lincoln spent a month in New Orleans. Yet, Lincoln never wrote or said a word about his visit to what was most sophisticated American city of the day. My novel Abraham Lincoln in New Orleans explores this mystery, dramatizing how those experiences challenged the unsophisticated Lincoln and set the platform for his life and career.

Link to Amazon listing for Abraham Lincoln in New Orleans.

More about the story: John Roll, an irrepressible 17-year-old Sangamon Town, Illinois lad, begins his narration of the saga. “This has been the best year of my life. They’ll be adventures ahead, but I can’t think any will be as good as the ones I’ve had heading down to New Orleans with Abe Lincoln.”

Roll describes how Lincoln, his stepbrother, and cousin were hired by mysterious and flamboyant Denton Offutt to build a flatboat on the banks of Illinois’ Sangamon River and then take a load of farm goods down the Mississippi River. Abe impresses Sangamon Town citizens with his wit and bravery as he saves two boys from drowning in the freezing river. Later Lincoln demonstrates his ingenuity when he devises a way to save the cargo and the boat when it hangs up on a dam at New Salem.

Along their journey and in New Orleans Lincoln and Roll interact with boatmen, merchants, slave owners, free persons of color, musicians, actors, librarian, even a doctor – a cross-section of America. They take a ride on one of the nation’s first railroads, visit the theater, and encounter a slave auction, eventually coming back upriver on a steamboat. The impressionable, curious Lincoln comes to terms with the complexities of the day and considers his future in this rollicking adventure.

Abraham Lincoln in New Orleans is based on true events and historic sources.

I’ve found more delicious cake recipes during this anniversary year, too.

This cake from an 1852 recipe highlights the challenges of mid-19th century cooking, there are times when eggs are scarce or expensive. In 1858 Springfield January eggs cost four times as much as they would in April, when more hens were laying more frequently. Frugal homemaker Mary Lincoln might have resorted to just such a recipe.

Cake Without Eggs

1/2 cup butter
2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 cup cream
1 cup buttermilk or sour milk
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon mace
1 cup currants

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Cream the butter and add the sugar. Gradually add cream. Stir in half the flour and spices. Then add buttermilk or sour milk. Stir in the currants last. Pour batter into a well greased and floured tube pan. Bake until cake pulls away from the sides of the pan and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. About 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 of an hour. If you bake cake in 3 loaf pans it will take about an hour.

Copyright 2010, Rae Katherine Eighmey. All rights reserved.