Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Wild West Meets the Gingerbread Man!

Chances are, if you use the Internet, you have heard about at least one food holiday. You see everyone posting about it on social media, stores advertise special offers and people flip out about whatever particular food is basking in its day the spotlight.

There is no rhyme or reason to the majority of food holidays out there. Most are announced a holiday by the marketing team of a brand, or declared by the popular food day website Foodimentary. There are days that do have a history behind them like National Doughnut Day, which takes place on the first Friday of June. Women volunteering for the Salvation Army would bring doughnuts to the soldiers during World War I to raise their spirits. The day was created by the Salvation Army as a way to raise funds and awareness for the volunteers.

I was delighted to find out that there is a random, fun and quirky food holiday for every day of June. On top of that, they are mostly desserts and we aren't complaining.

June 1
National Hazelnut Cake Day

June 2
National Rocky Road Day

June 3
National Doughnut Day

June 4
National Cheese Day

June 5
National Gingerbread Day  

National Gingerbread Day!  Wow!

Everyone one who knows me or reads my novels, knows I love gingerbread!  
I bake gingerbread cookies, cakes, trifles, fudge. . .well, you get the idea.  I even have my kitchen 
and dining room (tastefully) decorated in cranberry and cream with gingerbread boys and girls 
decorating the walls.  

When I read that Gingerbread has it's own National 'Food' Day.  
I began thinking and researching.
While we all know about the history of gingerbread in Europe,
 what do we know about the history
of gingerbread in the Wild West?

Then I located a recipe in an old cookbook.

Old West Cowboy Recipe for: Gingerbread:

Grandma's ginger and spice and everything nice.

- 1-1/2 lbs flour

- 1/2 lb. real butter

- 1/2 lb. brown sugar

- 1/2 pt. molassas

- 2 tbls cream

- 1 tsp baking soda

- ginger (to taste)

Mix all ingredients together. Make in into a stiff paste, and roll it out thin.
 Put it on buttered tins, and bake in a moderate oven till done, approximately 30-40 minutes.

And from an 1800's Pioneer Cookbook I located another reference to a gingerbread cake.

By-Guess By-Gosh Gingerbread

Pioneer recipes were seldom as specific as recipes today but this one has me puzzled. 

She wrote, 
“I always take some flour, just enough for the size of the cake I want to bake.
 I mix it up with some buttermilk if I happen to have any around, just enough for the flour. 
Then I take some ginger; some like more, some like less. I put in a little salt and pearl ash, and then
 I tell one of my children to pour in molasses until I tell him to stop. Then the children bring in wood 
to build up a good fire and we have gingerbread for company."  No doubt Grandma got better
 results from this recipe than I would.

While I wasn't able to locate very much information on the subject, I believe it is safe to assume, that 
gingerbread was consumed and enjoyed in the American West. 

Of course, spices were expensive, so these tasty desserts were probably limited to special occasions 
and, or, holiday celebrations.

Happy June, everyone!

Feel free to indulge in your 'favorite' food during this month.


1 comment:

Juliet Waldron said...

Ginger bread--YES!

Thanks for sharing.

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