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February 23, 2004

The Gift

I got the most amazing gift tonight and it's not even my birthday!

My cousin is going through all of her mother's tattered and worn recipe cards. She prefers everything to be new and neat. So, she is typing them all out on new cards.

I visited her this evening. I saw the cards she was finished with, in a pile on the counter. I asked. She was planning to throw them away. So I fulfilled my familial duty and rescued them from the certainty of their recycled doom.

To me, these cards are a treasure. Aside from the fact they're all written in my aunt's or occasionally a friend of my aunt's handwriting, there are recipes here from the kitchens of women who passed many years ago. Some are particularly worn and stained. Those are the ones I'll try first.

Speaking of recipes, since tomorrow is Mardi Gras Day, here is the King Cake recipe I wrote about awhile back.

1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup shortening
1/3 cup warm water (110-115F)
2 packages dry yeast
3 eggs
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
4 1/2- 5 cups bread flour
1 king cake baby doll

Combine first 4 ingredients. Scald and cool to lukewarm. Disolve yeast in the warm water. Add the milk mixture, eggs. lemon rind, nutmeg, and 2 cups of the flour. Beat until smooth. Add the remaining flour, 1 cup at a time. transfer dough to a floured board. Knead 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place dough in a greased bowl, turn over and cover with a damp cloth. Let the dough rise in a warm place until double. Punch down and knead for 5 minutes. Divide dough into thirds. Roll each piece into a strip 28-30 inches long. Braid the strips and shape into an oval on a greased baking sheet. Secure ends and secure baby doll into the dough. Cover to rise until double. Bake at 375F for 20 minutes or until golden. Cool and frost with confectioner's sugar glaze. Sprinkle while wet with alternating stripes of purple, green , and gold sugars.

Posted by Angi at February 23, 2004 11:34 PM


Thanks for the picture of the King's Cake. I have never seen one even though my kids have one at school every Mardi Gras.
What a treasure those recipes are! I would love to get my mother-in-laws recipes. But they are a closely guarded secret!

And to answer your question in my comments, yes they did sell things in tents at the reenactment. My boys got deer-skin little pouches.

Posted by: annie at February 24, 2004 11:27 AM

Nice cake! I have a couple of old recipes given to me by my uncle just before he died. His cheesecake, his soda bread and a few others. My idiotic father threw away all of my grandmother's handwritten recipes when he was cleaning out her house, unfortunately. Post some more recipes, please.

Posted by: Carolyn at February 24, 2004 02:16 PM

The cake looks lovely. No one seems to care about Mardi Gras on Long Island. That was great that you rescued the recipe cards. What a loss that would have been!

Posted by: Kathleen at February 25, 2004 08:23 AM

Thanks for posting the recipe. I'd love to see some of the old ones you rescued.

Posted by: Charleen at February 25, 2004 09:19 PM

Thanks for the recipe. I am really looking forward to doing this with Mary. We will let you know how it turns out.

Posted by: Roxanne at February 26, 2004 07:56 PM