Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Celebrating Southern Living Magazine

Southern Living Magazine | Golden Anniversary

Here it is, the February golden anniversary issue of Southern Living Magazine! Isn’t it “purty?” Just look at that 50th anniversary Lane Cake! Like so many treasured recipes, Lane Cake has a storied past:)

…The Lane Cake, one of Alabama's more famous culinary specialties, was created by Emma Rylander Lane of Clayton, Barbour County. It is a type of white sponge cake made with egg whites and consists of four layers that are filled with a mixture of the egg yolks, butter, sugar, raisins, and whiskey. The cake is frosted with a boiled, fluffy white confection of water, sugar, and whipped egg whites. The cake is typically served in the South at birthdays, wedding anniversaries, and other special occasions. The recipe was first printed in Lane's cookbook Some Good Things to Eat, which she self-published in 1898… (Encyclopedia of Alabama)

Actually, the title of Ms. Lane’s cookbook was A Few Good Things To Eat when it was originally published in 1898. I believe this because of an article I found published in the Reading Eagle in January 1968

…More than 100 years ago, Emma Rylander Lane of Clayton, Alabama, entered the annual baking competition at the county fair in Columbus, Georgia. She took first prize. No doubt the judges were swayed by her cake’s filling: a richly yolked custard heavily spiked with bourbon. The recipe, entitled Prize Cake, can be found in Some Good Things To Eat, a collection of personal favorites she published in 1898. Though later versions add shredded coconut and pecans to the filling, the original recipe calls for raisins only. Like Lady Baltimore Cake, it’s one of many spirited fruit-filled cakes of the era that became a holiday tradition. In July 1960, Lane Cake gained literary fame in To Kill A Mockingbird. And in March 1966, Southern Living featured a recipe for Lane Cake in its second issue…

In February 1966, the first issue of Southern Living Magazine, the “Magazine of the Modern South” was published and sent out free to over 200,000 subscribers of the Progressive Farmer. Just in case you’re curious, here’s what the first issue cover of Southern Living Magazine looked like when it debuted. There’s a story behind this cover too:)

Southern Living Magazine | Premier Edition
…Begun as a section in The Progressive Farmer titled The Progressive Home (retitled "Southern Living" in 1963), a new monthly magazine made its debut as a separate publication, Southern Living, in February 1966. At a time when the South was changing rapidly from a rural to a more urban region, Southern Living targeted families who often lived in suburbs, owned their homes, and enjoyed cooking, gardening, entertaining, travel and home-improvement projects.-- From The Companion to Southern Literature: Themes, Genres, Places, People, Movements, and Motifs

Lane Cake may be the quintessential Southern dessert, but, do you know what cake Southern Living Magazine claims to be the most requested since its publication in 1978? Why it’s Hummingbird Cake, which we all know has nothing to do with these beauties:)


WOW! Wasn’t that a glimpse of Sunshine:) So is this Hummingbird Cake, let me tell you! The recipe is from the Southern Living 1982 Annual Recipes Cookbook. (I have a few annuals through 1996:) The picture for the Hummingbird Cake was harvested from good ol’ wiki.

Hummingbird Cake

I’ve been in search of just the right Bran Muffin recipe for Marion. As you know, she is quite fond of all things sweet:) However, every now and again she decides she needs to eat healthier and we wind up with 5 or 6 boxes of Raisin Bran cereal in the cupboard! With the exception of Cherrios and once in a blue moon, Frosted Flakes, I don’t do boxed cereals! I usually have to remind Marion that she doesn’t either. She just laughs, lol…

Bran Muffin
Bran Muffin

I think I’ve hit the jackpot with this recipe. As a matter of fact we both have become quite fond of these Bran Muffins. I found the recipe in the Southern Living Annual from 1984. To add a bit of sweetness to Marion’s, I “frosted” hers with a brown sugar crumb topping. To be perfectly honest, they really didn’t need it. I was glad I omitted the topping on mine and added blueberries instead. My adjustments are in red:)

Bran Muffins Recipe

The history of Southern Living Magazine spans over 50 years. As you can imagine, there have been numerous articles printed and posted about its beginnings and its future. Way too much for the scope of this blog post. (we all saw how carried away I got about Bing cherries:) Of the many bits and pieces I learned about Southern Living in my travels, the one that really surprised mewas, Cooking Light Magazine. Did you know it sprang from the pages of Southern Living! I didn't!

Beside the annuals, I do have a few Southern Living cookbooks. The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook and Southern Living’s Our Readers Top-Rated Recipes are both on the shelf next to their Cooking Light counterparts. This recipe for Shellfish Crêpes in Wine-Cheese Sauce is from the Top Rated Recipes cookbook. A bit decadent for the first day of Lent but, hey, we’re just looking:)

Shellfish Crepes

Did you download the February calendar yet? No? It’s right up there in the left side bar:) You might need it because it’s another busy week for food celebrations, there are Plum Puddings, Tortellini, Gum Drops and Almonds to nibble on before I come back just in time for Cabbage Day. Yes, I said Cabbage, lol…We can’t forget, Valentine’s Day snuggled in between. I can’t believe it’s been two years since I did my retro Valentine’s post. In case you missed it, you can start here. Have a GREAT week everyone and Happy Valentine’s Day!!! Louise:)

Vintage Valentine

1.What Ever Happened To The Boozy Cake In 'To Kill A Mockingbird’?
2.Whitewashing Southern Living: the sociocultural significance of the 1966 magazine launch in Birmingham, Alabama

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

National Cherry Month; Ah Bing

Jell-O Girl in February

There are more than 1,000 varieties of cultivated cherries in the United States but fewer than 10 are produced commercially. Basically, cherries can be divided into two groups; sweet cherries, which are yummy for eating right off the tree, and sour cherries, which are used in canning, cooking and as “pie cherries.” Today, for National Cherry Month, we are going to indulge in the brief history of a sweet cherry many of you are quite familiar with; the Bing Cherry.

According to John Mariani in The Dictionary of American Food and Drink, the history of the sweet cherry began at the crossroads of ancient civilizations in the fertile area between the Black and Caspian Seas in Asia Minor.

The cherry originated in Asia but was widely dispersed throughout Europe and North America in prehistoric times. European colonists found wild cherries in America and cultivated them, also crossbreeding them with European varieties.
Cherry Bounce | 1908

As you can see from the above recipe as found in The Boston Cooking School Magazine the subscriber from New Orleans is requesting a Cherry Bounce recipe from the magazine which is based in Massachusetts. I find this request quite interesting not to mention the widespread interest of cherries in 1908! I have an earlier recipe for Cherry Bounce in Marion Harland’s Common Sense in the Household ©1871 which has almost the exact recipe minus the water and only a gallon of “your best whiskey.” I should note, however, that Mrs. Harland’s recipe for Cherry Bounce calls for “4lbs. of sour and the same of sweet.” A modern recipe for Cherry Bounce can be found at Epicurious with this tidbit of info:

Among the few recipes known to have been used by the Washington family is this one for cherry bounce, a brandy-based drink popular in the eighteenth century. It seems to have been such a favorite of General Washington's that he packed a "Canteen" of it, along with Madeira and port, for a trip west across the Allegheny Mountains in September 1784.

This fruity, spiced cordial requires a bit of work and time, but the result is well worth the effort. After pitting, halving, and mashing the cherries, be prepared to set away the sweetened brandied juice for twenty-four hours and then again for about two weeks after infusing it with spices. Enjoy small glasses of cherry bounce at room temperature, and keep the remainder on hand in the refrigerator.

The fact that George Washington packed a “Canteen” of Cherry Bounce for a trip West in 1784, reiterates other articles I found claiming that wild cherries were indigenous in the colonies. Apparently, cherries were also “an important” crop in Pennsylvania at one time. As for Marion Harland and her Cherry Bounce, most likely the “sour” cherries she includes in her recipe were of the Red Kentish variety as they were not only the cherries Robert Herrick immortalized in one of his poems, it was the Red Kentish early settlers cultivated in 1629 in places such as Massachusetts.

Cherry ripe, ripe, ripe, I cry,
Full and fair ones; come and buy!
If so be you ask me where
They do grow, I answer, there,
Where my Julia’s lips do smile;
There’s the land, or cherry-isle.
Whose plantations fully show
All the year where cherries grow.

We all know the legend of Johnny Appleseed and his trek across American sowing and planting apple trees as he travelled. For cherries, the journey West was led by wagon.

In 1847, a man by the name of Henderson Luelling (sometimes spelled Lewelling) took an assortment of seven hundred fruit plants to Oregon. In that wagon were small cherry trees. Legend has it that, while other pioneers were attacked by tribes along the trail, the Luellings passed safely because their wagon was full of fruit trees.

Henderson Luelling (1810-1879) was a pioneering nurseryman who introduced varietal fruit to the Willamette Valley near Salem, Oregon and later to California. In 1847, Luelling, his wife, and eight children came west on the Oregon Trail, bringing a wagon loaded with an assortment of 50 or 60 varieties of apples, pears, peaches, plums, cherries, quince, black walnuts, hickory nuts, gooseberries, currants, and grapes. All told, the wagon had about 700 young plants, which he loaded into two long, narrow boxes in his wagon that were filled with charcoal, manure, and soil. He assiduously cared for them every day during the long journey, prompting his daughter to exclaim that he cared more about the trees than his family.

The first thing that came to mind while reading the safe passage legend was, how in the world did those fruit plants survive! I have a hard enough time taking care of a garden right in my back yard with all the comforts of gardening right at my finger tips. Imagine taking care of those plants, the family and worrying about what or who could be hidden in the landscape? Henderson Luelling’s story is one of great interest but not one we can “talk” about now. Suffice to say, he is remembered in history as the Father of the Pacific Fruit Industry.

Seth Lewelling, brother of Henderson, was yet another pioneer nurseryman. In the fall of 1850, Seth joined his brother Henderson at his nursery in Oregon bringing with him a considerable amount of fruit seed. For the next few years, their nursery operations were on such a large scale, Salem Oregon and its surrounding areas became know as Cherry City.

Seth Lewelling is best remembered for his work in developing new fruit varieties. Among these, two black cherries stand out. In 1860, the original Black Republican tree was grown from a seed of a Black Eagle cherry and, in 1875, a Black Republican planting produced a promising seedling that Lewelling named "Bing" after his faithful Chinese helper, Ah Bing. The Bing cherry would be Seth Lewelling's crowning achievement.

When Bing cherries were exhibited at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, people at first thought, because of their size, they were crabapples. According to reports, the large Bings averaged 35 cherries to the pound and sold in the East for three cents a cherry. (Salem-Cherry City)
original cherry tree pictured in 1904 Friends in Fruit
Black Republican Cherry Tree | 1904
The Black Republican was named to commemorate the abolitionist movement.

There seems to be a bit of confusion as to whether the Bing Cherry was named in honor of Mr. Bing because he was a loyal and hardworking employee or for other reasons. An article published in the May 1973 Bulletin of the Chinese Historical Society of America tells of the life of this Chinese horticulturist.

Ah Bing Story

Ready for some recipes??? Personally, my favorite way to enjoy sweet, plump Bing cherries is fresh right out of the bowl. For me, the season is waaaaaay to short which doesn’t lend itself to actually cooking with them. Tart cherries also have a short fresh season but at least they are readily available canned or frozen. (I do buy frozen Bings for my smoothies:) First up, Pork Chops with Cherry Apple Reduction Sauce harvested from Cooking In Style the Costco Way.

Pork Chops with Cherry Apple Reduction Sauce

I found this recipe for Cherry Twists El Charro in Mable Hoffman’s Deep-Fry Cookery. Yes, it does call for canned tart cherries but, I just couldn’t resist!

Cherry Twists El CharroCherry Twists El Charro

Next up, California Apricot-Cherry Cornmeal Cobbler as found in America’s Favorite Brand Name Old Fashioned Favorites ©1998.

California Apricot Cherry Cornmeal CobblerCalifornia Apricot Cherry Cornmeal Cobbler

If after reading all this cherry talk, you’re craving cherry recipes, may I suggest you hop over to Pattie’s Olla-Podrida where she celebrated National Cherry Month in a delicious way!

Celebrate National Cherry Month!

Did you see the Jell-O girl booklet at the top of this post? It’s just a little reminder that Jell-O week is celebrated the second week of February. Although, I would prefer Gloria’s Mason Jar Cherry Pies right at the moment, I’m sure Marion wouldn’t mind one bit if I whipped up this Apple Snow! (she’s been on quite the Jell-O kick lately:)

Jell-O Apple Snow Recipe

I want to take a moment to thank you all for your sweet comments about the February calendar. I’m so glad you all enjoy it! Just in case you missed it, or if you just want to down load it to keep it handy, the link is in the sidebar. As you might of guessed, I also have a National Cherry Month Pinterest board:)

Have a wonderful week everyone, I’ll be back next Wednesday to celebrate Southern Living Magazine’s golden anniversary. (I have tons of Southern Living Annuals:)

1. The Skinny on Cherry Nutrition
2. Famous People You Never Heard Of
3. Henderson Lewelling House