Posts Tagged ‘Historic recipes’


A few weeks ago we threw a party for a colleague who was retiring after nearly 43 years of service to The Christian Science Monitor. In addition to being one of the nicest persons in the newsroom, Ross Atkin, a longtime sports writer, was also the presenter of baked goods. Without fail, so much so that we could set our Monday morning breakfast plans to this routine, Ross cheered the early hours of new week with a home baked treat.

He didn’t make enough to feed the entire newsroom, so you had to make sure you got work at least on time to run to the kitchen and pick up one of that day’s offerings ranging from cookies, muffins, bars to the occasional Bundt cake.

So at the 11th hour before the party (as in the afternoon before) I thought it would be a neat idea to bake Ross something from the pages of the Monitor as close as possible to the time he had first arrived in Boston as a fresh college graduate from Indiana on June 21, 1971.



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You may have vague memories of learning about the origins of Thanksgiving Dinner in elementary school as you cut out Pilgrim hats and turkeys from construction paper. You probably learned that the first feast of gratitude occurred between the Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Rock and some friendly “Indians” or native Americans who showed up with corn to go along with the prepared turkey. Or something like that.

According to the historic records at Plimoth Plantation in Massachusetts, there is only one written record of that meal in 1621 and it is, at best, a passing reference to the feast that occurred sometime between September 21 and November 9, which was the time of harvest observed by the native Wampanoag People. The English town called Plymouth was right smack in the middle of the Wampanoag homeland. (And let’s not call them Pilgrims, since they didn’t use that term themselves until much later. They were “Separatists” who had separated from the Church of England. You can find the difference between Puritans and Pilgrims here.)


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The first known recipe for Election Cake, one of the first foods to be identified with American politics, was published as early as 1796 in Amelia Simmons’ “American Cookery” cookbook. In the 1800s, the cake was served at election time and by the 1830s it had became popularly known as Hartford Election Cake. (more…)

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