Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Taste of the Familiar

As I've been working on my story, I've been scattering bits of food on the pages. Not crumbs, but some delicious treats to help evoke sweet reminisces of familiar tastes. It's important to use all the senses judiciously while writing a novel. Just think about the times you've been reading and someone bit into a luscious dessert, especially one that is one of your favorites!

I've been under the weather for a few days, but my appetite is returning so I thought I'd share with you a little "taste" of some of the online resources I've found for historical recipes - an essential ingredient for infusing authenticity.

Did you know...

That in rural homes in the 19th century, apple, and other fruit pies were often served for breakfast, and considered a good hearty beginning for a hard day's work?

That 2 spoonfuls of rose water, a widely available flavoring before vanilla took over in the mid 19th century?

Some real life resources that I'm blessed to have are old cookbooks that belonged to my great-grandmother, grandmother, and great-aunt. I've some special memories of home baked Molasses Cookies and more. So I'll leave you with a special treat - my great-grandmother's "19th Century Gingerbread" recipe.

Mrs. Jennie Walton

1/2 c. sugar
1 c. molasses
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. soda (baking soda)

Beat first 4 ingredients until they foam then add:

1 c. cold water
1/2 c. melted shortening (cooking oil as substitute)
2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt

Bake in greased and floured pan about 1/2 hour at 375 dgrees.

I've made this delicious recipe many times and it is wonderful served warm with fresh whipped cream.

Do you enjoy writing about food?  Reading about food?
Do you have any heirloom recipes? Please feel free to share!


  1. Hi Carla,
    Thanks for the wonderful food links!
    I love rose water. I like to add a few drops to the cream I fill my cup cakes with. Delicious and one of my favorite fragrances.
    Dorothy :)

  2. It seems like food and meals creep into my fiction often. I suppose it's because I so love to eat!

    I think it's fantastic you have all those special cookbooks. Special!

  3. I really have to add this into my latest novel. My last novel, Wishing on Willows, the heroine owned a cafe and I had SO much fun writing about the food!

  4. You've succeeded in make my mouth water:) I like the interesting fact about rose water.

  5. Oh, Carla. Thanks for sharing foodie links and your G-grandmother's recipe. My husband loves gingerbread. That's so special about the cookbooks. I have my Dad's cookbooks and I know that's something I will always treasure.

  6. Can't wait to check out the food links. Now I don't feel so bad about the apple pie I had for breakfast this morning!

  7. A few of the links weren't working, but I've fixed them. I hope you enjoy. There are some great recipes!

    Dorothy, I had no idea that rose water could be used in food. Your cupcakes sound heavenly!

  8. Julia, if you try the gingerbread recipe, let me know how your husband likes it! So glad you have your Dad's cookbooks. It's special having something that a loved one enjoyed so much. Like mine, there are probably little splatters of food on the pages.

  9. Hi Carla -

    I hope you're feeling better.

    Thanks for the links. I'm looking forward to exploring them.

    Susan :)

  10. I need to read about food. If the book has an historical setting food is one way to make the world easily accessible to the reader.

  11. That's a good point, Elaine.


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