Today's Featured Mittens
Strawberries and Cream
Recently my cousin Donna posted an interesting challenge on our Henderson Relatives Facebook page. What is your favorite Barbour Cookbook recipe? Although there were not a lot of responses, those who did respond had fond memories of the cookbook, the recipes and the emotions evoked by food.
My Dirty Copy
My favorite recipe is on page 22.....Melting Moments. I love the alliterative name and the finished product. They are shortbread-like and really do melt in your mouth. I connect them to my mother and her sister, my Aunt Jean. When complimented on her Melting Moments, my mother would always say, "Well, thank you, but they aren't as good as Jean's."
And just below Melting Moments, you find the recipe for Never Fail Cookies which is so encouraging for the novice baker.
And speaking of history, the BCB also enhances the social history of New Brunswick. One of the features of the Barbour Cookbook (Third Edition) that has always intrigued me is the names of the contributors. They are often Mrs. Husband's Name. For example, the recipe for Melting Moments was contributed by Mrs. Wilmot Giberson and Mrs. Wm. Scott. There are some contributors who have their own names, but not many. This edition was published in the 1950s so I suppose that was the standard at that time. I recently finished a book about Cottage Craft in St. Andrews and the author addresses the practice of using the husband's name when the female employees of that company were listed on a roster in 1917. She makes no apology, no statement about identity or feminism, but simply says "...the author used the then polite rule of using their husbands', not their own given, names..."
Cousin Donna's favourite recipe is Walnut Slice found on page 28. This blurry photo shows the contributor of this recipe used her own given name, Dorothy. Perhaps she was unmarried.
And a history lesson on a more global scale. My mother and aunts often made War Cake, found on page 7 of the BCB. As a child in the 60s, the very name of this cake held negative connotations for me. Who would want to eat a cake called War Cake? And it was dark and heavy and had raisins in it! I did not know its history until later when I learned that it was so named because people baked it and sent it overseas to family members during World War1 and 11. Its ingredients---no milk, butter, eggs---allowed it to be safely shipped from New Brunswick to Europe. It must have been a welcomed treat for the soldiers.
Another feature of the BCB that always amused me is the brevity of instructions. If you are able to read any of the blurry recipes I have included, you will see that baking directions are a bit sparse: "Bake 35 to 40 minutes in hot oven. Bake 30 - 45 minutes in moderate oven. Bake 1 hour in a slow oven. Bake until done." Right. As it says in the introduction to this cookbook:
"Most of these recipes have been passed on
from mother to daughter over many generations,
and were originated before the day of the electric
oven with automatic controls."
I recently made a chocolate cake for a friend's 59th birthday. I used a recipe from the Barbour Cookbook and I used my imagination in the decorating of the cake. The bikinied model on the cake looks like my friend did when she was 28. The 2 and the 8 were the candles I found in my "candle drawer". I figured she would rather be 28 than 82 so that determined the positioning of the candles. Those balloons have been in the candle drawer since Julia turned 8; they are re-used every time someone has a birthday in our house. I am sorry to say the cake was not my finest but the icing was good.
Birthday Cake for Friend
I think of The Barbour Cookbook as a uniquely New Brunswick publication. It is available at G.E.Barbour Inc. which is located in Sussex, New Brunswick. G.E. Barbour Inc. has existed since 1867 and currently produces such favourites as King Cole Tea, Barbour's peanut butter, and Sussex cheese. All of these products are exceptional and are staples in our home.
I could not confirm the size of the Barbour workforce but this photo suggests that it is a substantial number. You can access more information and even order your very own Barbour Cookbook at G.E.Barbour Inc. Buy local! Support our New Brunswick economy!
Until Next Time.....