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Thursday, October 14, 2010

War Cake

I love to cook. I mean really love to cook. I’ve always considered it not only a creative endeavor but a bit of a spiritual one as well. I can easily spend a day on one creation. From the selection of the perfect seasonal recipe to sourcing the freshest ingredients to preparation, hours pass. International cuisine will fill the house with exotic scents and proper musical accompaniment transforms the everyday into a night in Morocco, France or the Orient. There has always been a connectedness for me from the earth to culture to interpretation to palate.

When I inherited a cookbook from my grandmother, a farmer’s wife and wonderful cook I was excited to say the least. This was not just any book; it was a bit of family history. The first page yielded the unexpected, War Cake.

I’d not, until now, considered political climate in relation to cuisine. My grandmother had grown into an adult during WWII. She’d never spoken of it, at least to me, yet here it was, a bit of the story. War Cake is so named for its lack of eggs, butter and milk, ingredients that were hard to come by during the war. I could comment on how little life has changed in that there are still wars, yet how much has changed in how little it affects the average citizens everyday lives, but I won’t, there are political bloggers for that. I choose instead to share the recipe and let you interpret it how you will.

2 cups water

2 cups brown sugar

4 Tbsp shortening

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp cloves

1 tsp allspice

1 lb raisins

Boil ingredients for 5 minutes then cool.


2 tsp baking soda

½ tsp vanilla

2 ½ cups all purpose flour

Mix well together and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.