Half the Sugar : Early American Loaf Cake

Time and time again, I’ve heard visitors from Europe comment on how overly sweet and fatty American cakes and cookies are by comparison.  After thumbing through Polish cookbooks, old and new, all I can say is:  point well-taken.   European cakes and cookies tend to be less sweet, contain less fat, and are, therefore, drier.  After […]

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Southern Traditions: Jam Cake

In the dead of winter when fresh berries are hard to come by, the Southern classic “Jam Cake” is a cake I just had to try.  Aside from just plain “Jam Cake,” I’ve seen it called Tennessee Jam Cake and Kentucky Jam Cake.  The cake was apparently a favorite of President Andrew Jackson, as author […]

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Spiced Jumbals (Early American)

One of the oldest cookies is the jumbal.  It’s a crunchy cookie that can be shaped like a ring or a pretzel, or any other which way you like.  Here is Mary Randolph’s version of it from her 1838 cookbook, “The Virginia Housewife.” This cookie does not seemed to have made into my cookbooks covering […]

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Early American Christmas Cookies

The history behind American Christmas traditions is an eye opener.  So far, I’ve learned that in Colonial America at least, Christmas celebrations were even punishable if you lived in Puritan New England. Traditions in general varied from colony to colony, depending on who settled there.  They were definitely not the colorful, over the top celebrations […]

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