My mother's pioneer cookbook still opens automatically to her recipe for Soft Gingerbread, a childhood favorite of ours. But since the gingerbread is not very different from the way we make it today, I'm going to give the English Plum Pudding recipe from the same cookbook.
"Take six ounces of suet, mind you skin it and cut it up fine. Just you use the same quantity of raisins, taking out the stones, and the same of currants. Always wash your currants and dry them in a cloth. Have a stale loaf of bread and crumble, say three ounces of it. You will want about the same of sifted flour. Break three eggs, yolks and all, but don't beat them much. Have a teaspoon of ground cinnamon and grate half a nutmeg. Don't forget a teaspoon of salt. You will require with all this a half pint of milk and four ounces of white sugar. In the old days angelica root candied was used; it's gone out of fashion now. Put that in – if you have it – not a big piece and slice it thin. You can't do well without a half ounce of candied citron. Now mix all this up together, adding the milk last in which you put half a glass of brandy. Take a piece of linen, big enough to double over, put it in boiling water, squeeze out all the water and flour it; turn out your mixture in that cloth, and tie up tight; good cooks sew up their pudding bags. It can't be squeezed too much, for a loosely tied pudding is a soggy thing, because it won't cook dry. Put in five quarts of boiling water, and let it boil six hours steady, covering it up. Watch it and if the water gives out, add more boiling water. This is a real English plum pudding with no nonsense about it."
Louise Fowler Roote
Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then CAPPER’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from CAPPER’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.