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Posts Tagged ‘Mary Baker Eddy’

On most American Thanksgiving tables, pumpkin pie is as much a presence as the turkey centerpiece. In modern forms it may appear as a flan, a cheesecake, or a frozen whipped delight.

In a Victorian-era cookbook, “The Art of Cookery: A Manual for Home and Schools” by Emma P Ewing, I found a recipe for a pumpkin pie that surprised me for two reasons: the heavy use of molasses and no cinnamon.

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An easy place to begin for a month of Victorian recipe testing is custard pie. With its short list of ingredients, not much go wrong with this simple dessert.

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Have you heard of Mary Baker Eddy (1821-1910)? She was was an influential American author, teacher, and religious leader, noted for her groundbreaking ideas about spirituality and health, which she named Christian Science. She articulated those ideas in her major work, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” first published in 1875. Four years later she founded the Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, which today has branch churches and societies around the world. In 1908 she launched The Christian Science Monitor, a leading international newspaper, the recipient, to date, of seven Pulitzer Prizes. (Disclosure: I am a staff editor for The Christian Science Monitor.)

The Mary Baker Eddy Library in Boston now houses Eddy’s remarkable archival collection, which ranges from her many writings and letters to her wardrobe and even the carriage she rode in daily. This is one of the largest existing collections by and about an American woman. The library aims to provide public access and context to original materials and educational experiences about Eddy’s life, ideas, and achievements, including her Church, whose international headquarters are located in Boston.

The Mary Baker Eddy Library  asked me to spend November testing some of the menu items found in their archive collection. I quickly agreed! I love historical recipes and what they teach us not only about the social and cultural issues of their day, but also what they reveal about our own modern experiences.

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