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Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Chinese New Year Tribute: Revisiting Lottie Moon, The Cookie Lady

Some of you may have "met" Lottie Moon before, I did an in depth post about her unconditional devotion to the Chinese people while serving as a Baptist missionary to China in 1873, way back in 2009. Her chosen mission was to spread the word of God among the Chinese people in a time when it was almost unheard of for women of her status. Despite the many obstacles she endured, Lottie spent her entire career in northern China, first in Tengchow (now called Penglai) and later in Pingtu.

Today I would like to explore the "lighter" side of Lottie (short for Charlotte) Digges Moon or the Cookie Lady, as she became to be known among her friends in China, with a few passages from The Lottie Moon Cook Book by Claude Rhea published in 1969.

When Lottie sailed for China in 1873, she brought with her the latest edition of Mrs. Hill's New Cook Book. Originally published as Mrs. Hill's New Cook Book, a Practical System for Private Families, in Town and Country with Directions for Carving and Arranging the Tables for Dinners, and Parties in 1872, it is believed Lottie's "go to" cookbook was the 1875 revised edition authored by socially prominent Georgia native Annabella P. Hill.

The recipes in this book have been gleaned from Miss Lottie Moon's own personal copy of Mrs. Hill's New Cook Book. Though the actual copyright date of Mrs. Hill's New Cook Book was 1872, the flyleaf of Miss Moon's copy was inscribed "L. Moon Jan. 7th 1875," which indicates that Lottie Moon used these recipes for some thirty-eight years during her forty-year tenure as a missionary in China...Lottie Moon's copy of Mrs. Hill's New Cook Book, together with other treasured mementos of her China years, is in the possession of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.

A facsimile of Mrs. Hill's New Cook Book, 1872 edition, "one of the most influential cookbooks of the post–Civil War South," has recently been published. I found a historical commentary about the book by culinary historian Damon Lee Fowler at The University Of South Carolina Press:

Originally published in 1867 as Mrs. Hill's New Cook Book this encyclopedic treasury of recipes, cooking advice, and household hints brims with insight into the culinary heritage of the South in general and Georgia in particular. With its return to print, the charming volume revises popular legends about the food ways of the Old South, revealing both the bounty of the Southern table and the expertise of the Southern cook.

From the Lottie Moon book:

Those first few years spent in Tengchow were busy but rather discouraging ones. There was distrust toward foreigners and she was often called the "Devil Old Woman." One day she tried a new method to reach people; cookies!... Chinese boys and girls couldn't resist the smell of those delicious cookies and as they munched happily, Lottie Moon had an opportunity to tell them the good news of Christ.

She served cookies many, many times through the years and used them as a point of contact with the Chinese people. Her cookie jar was also famous with children of missionary families who stopped over in her home from time to time.

Miss Moon, according to a China missionary, was lovingly nicknamed "The Cookie Lady." Her other more familar nickname came to be "The Heavenly Book Visitor" which replaced the "Devil Old Woman."

The Cookie Lady distributing tea cakes. Scene from film of the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, The Lottie Moon Story

It has been my pleasure these past few weeks to visit many of you who will be celebrating Chinese New Year, and the year of the Horse, in a few days. To my delicious surprise, you have been baking up a plethora of unbelievable cookies. Lena, Joyce and Zoe have been conducting a month long bake-a-long featuring Chinese New Year Cookies which has an amazing 177 links. Just look at Joyce's most recent entry, "Crispy, fragrant Kuih Rose." Thank You Joyce!

I am more than intrigued to try Lena's Salted Egg Cookies and Zoe's Milky Cream Cheese Cookies sound heavenly! Of course, it is most difficult to choose just a few recipes from the linky list so I suggest you stop by one of the hostesses' blog and grab a whole bunch!!!

If Lottie Moon were with us today, I have a feeling her contribution to the New Year festivities would be her Plain Tea Cakes. These were the cookies she baked most often to entice the Chinese children to come and listen to her stories about Jesus.

As you can see, none of the wording or format has been changed in the Lottie Moon Cook Book. I was quite lucky to find an adapted version of Lottie's Tea Cakes at this website. The hostess of the website writes "I can say that I have made these cookies and they are super easy and pretty tasty too."

Lottie’s Plain Tea Cakes

2 cups flour

1/2 cup butter

1 heaping cup of sugar

1 well beaten egg

1 tbsp cream
Directions:

Cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and mix well. Add the flour and cream. Dust a board with flour. Roll the dough very thin. Cut cookies with a round cookie cutter. Place on a nonstick cookie sheet. Bake at 475 for 5 minutes.

The author, Claude Rhea, also included pictures of actual pages of her book.

During my research for today's celebration, I found many references to Lottie Moon's taste for tea. Perhaps she follwed these directions for Green Tea from Mrs. Hill.

In 1887 Lottie suggested to the Baptist women of Virginia the idea of a special Christmas offering. It's original purpose was to provide help for Lottie so she could take a much needed furlough back home. In her plea she wrote:

Need it be said why the week before Christmas is chosen? Is it not the festive season, when families exchange gifts in memory of The Gift laid on the altar of the world for the redemption of the human race, the most appropriate time to consecrate a portion from abounding riches and scant poverty to send forth the good tidings of great joy into all the earth.

The Women's Missionary Union, formed in 1888, took up the challenge and proclaimed a week of prayer and a special Christmas offering for 1888. It adopted a goal of $2,000 and requested a grant of $100 from the Foreign Missions Board for postage and publicity, of which only $72.82 was spent. Actual receipts amounted to $3,315.26.

The week of prayer and Christmas offering became an annual emphasis among the Baptist women. In 1918, the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board named the annual churchwide offering the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. In the first ninety-five years since Lottie suggested it, more than a half-billion dollars was collected. It is said "One hundred percent is used for special projects, material and equipment: things that assist and enhance the work of missionaries." The goal for 2014 is $175 million.

FYI: Lottie was fluent in Latin, Greek, French, Italian, Spanish, Hebrew and English. She stood 4'3" tall.

Lottie Moon died on Christmas Eve in 1912 on board a ship bound for America. She was 72.

On December 20, 1912, she set sail for America, accompanied by Miss Cynthia Miller. While the ship was anchored at Kobe, Japan, on Christmas Eve, Lottie Moon quietly slipped into eternity. Japanese law decreed that the body be cremated. On January 28, 1913, a memorial service for Lottie was held at Second Baptist Church of Richmond, Virginia, and her ashes were interred in Crewe, Virginia. (source)

Lottie Moon's feast day is celebrated December 22 on the Episcopal Liturgical calendar. Here she is depicted in a stained glass window at Crewe Baptist Church.

"It is a great mistake to say that the Chinese are not hospitable.
A more graceful, hearty hospitality than that of the Chinese I have met in no land."

~Lottie Moon~ Pingtu, China, Sept. 10, 1890

Resources
1. Charlotte "Lottie" Diggs Moon
2. Charlotte Diggs "Lottie" Moon @Dan's Faithweb
3. A Snapshot of Lottie Moon's Life (scroll down)
4. Missions and Lottie Moon
5. Lottie Moon and Joshua Fry
6. Southern Cooking with Mrs. Hill (short article)
7. Lottie Moon Tour at Crewe Baptist Church
8. Housekeeping Made Easy @ google books
9. My Previous Lottie Moon Post

55 comments:

  1. Hi Louise , what a touching and wonderful story . As usual your post is full of so much information . I really enjoy it when you take us back in time to such wonderful happenings and there is still so much to learn . Thanks so much for sharing :)

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    1. So glad you enjoyed this post, Nee. It was sobering revisiting the accomplishments of this amazing woman.

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  2. Dear Louise, I never heard of this woman. Thank you for this inspiring story of such a devoted woman who did so much all with love and devotion. The sweetness of cookies brought her message.
    I think the world in its situation may take a nice lesson from this woman. I enjoyed this story. Blessings and keep cozy and warm. Catherine xo

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    1. I enjoyed sharing it Catherine. In my heart I think there are many with her spirit. Unfortunately, we don't hear about them as often as we probably should. Thank you so much for visiting, we are staying warm here in central PA:)

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  3. I had not met Lottie before, but I am glad to do so now. What a fascinating lady.

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    1. Oh I'm so glad you enjoyed your visit, Cakelaw. She was incredible!

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  4. You never know thejourney that life may take you on....what a great life story.

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  5. Interesting history. I like the shape of the cookies. They look really difficult to make.

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    1. Thanks Lady Lilith. so glad you enjoyed this post. I told Joyce she has great patience to bake such lovely cookies. Me? Not so much:)

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  6. I never knew such an amazing woman exist until now...great post:)

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  7. I love reading this life story Louise! And the photos are really interesting too. As usual, great post and very informative! Have a good week X

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  8. A great story and interesting lady.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  9. Hi Louise,
    Thanks for sharing an interesting post on amazing Lottie Moon. For a 4'3" lady, she sure stands out tall. And I never did think much about cookbooks during that era of time, now I wonder is it only ladies that wrote cookbooks during that century?
    Lottie Moon is one smart lady, no one can resists a good cookie! I really enjoyed reading about Lottie Moon, I have learnt so many new things from your posts! Thanks Louise!
    And thank you so much for featuring my Kuih Rose and for the link to Lena, Zoe and myself. Kuih Rose is one of the traditional cookies of Malaysia and is a favourite with all races. You are right, it takes some patience, but the end result is worth the effort! Wish I could pass a jar to you!
    We have an outstanding 210 links so far! Everyone has been so supportive!
    I will be off in a few days time to celebrate CNY with my in-laws and back to my dad's.
    See you when I get back! And thank you so much.

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    1. I'm not too sure about this Joyce but I think that century was the dawning of women writing cookbooks. The cookie selections in the round-up are simply amazing. I'd love to try each and every one!

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  10. Cookies will get me every time! What a great post -- loved reading every word of it. So much that I didn't know! Really outstanding work on your part -- thanks so much.

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    1. Thanks John, It was fun revisiting, Lottie. She sure was an amazing person!

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  11. Louise, I thoroughly enjoyed your post on Lottie Moon. Being the daughter of a Southern Baptist Minister, I well remember the history of Lottie Moon. I also remember WMU was a very active organization in our church. I also remember the G A's which was the Girl's Auxiliary. This organization was sponsored and let by the WMU. I have many fond memories of those activities. Thank you so much for giving this blessed lady a continued forum here.
    Thanks again, Ginger

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    1. Wow! You're the first person that I "know" that is familiar with this organization, Ginger. If I had known, I would of asked you for some leads, lol...Thank you so much for sharing your experience!

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  12. HI Louise , What an awesome & touching post ! I truly miss reading your blog posts but now I'm back . Still got lots of catching up to do ;)

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  13. I am glad our cookbooks are a little more specific these days: a common teacup, a small teacup, a tumbler, a dessert-spoon? Geez-oh-man, I have 6 sizes of dessert spoon here! Great post, Louise.

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    1. My favorite is a walnut size of butter, Marjie. I guess walnuts were plentiful in those days!

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  14. Dear Louise, You are amazing! I was so riveted to your story of this remarkable women. Could stop reading and then re-reading the story again. Had no idea bout Lottie Moon. Today I have learned so much from you, Nee's post, and Catherine's post. Love learning about new things...Lottie's plain tea cakes are a must try for sure. they sound delicious...Love the stained glass window that was made in honor of her. Can't believe she knew all those languages! Happy Chinese New Years to all who celebrate...May the year of the Horse be an amazing year for all...Thank you Louise, love this post so very much. I am going to tell my mom about Lottie Moon..Blessings, Dottie :)

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    1. I am simply delighted that you enjoyed this post, Dottie. I wish there would have been just a bit more biographical information about her in the book but after all, it is a cookbook and you can learn so much through recipes and of course the pictures! Thank you so much for visiting, Dottie. I hope your Mom enjoys it too:)

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  15. Having no experience growing up in the Baptist church, I hadn't known this information about Lottie Moon. I'm glad to see the recipe, and may give it a try. Thank you for sharing.

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  16. The last thing my mother shared with me - other than our Christmas night chat - was how well her crocheted items sold at their Lottie Moon sale. They held it earlier in the month of December (to catch Christmas shoppers). It's neat that one missionary is honored by so many denominations!

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    1. I think it's amazing that the tradition continues, Channon. I happened upon many websites that share the memory of Lottie Moon.

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  17. I enjoyed this story about Lottie Moon. Thanks for sharing.

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  18. Lottie sounds like a neat lady! And I love that she was known for her cookies :)

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    1. Cookies speak so many languages, Liz:)

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  19. I was just writing a story about the Chinese New Year! :) I could have used this research!

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    1. You are more than welcome to use whatever you like, Miranda. I bet your students would love some cookies also:)

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  20. Wow, I grew up in a Baptist church when living in Brazil and never heard of Lottie Moon...such a touching story. Thanks for such a nice post. I always learn so much by reading your posts...thank you!
    Have a great week ahead my dear :D

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    1. The Lottie Moon story has spread all over the world in recent years, Juliana. I'm so glad you enjoyed your visit:)

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  21. yet again, i have been edified by one of your posts! what a fascinating lady.

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    1. Aw, gee, thank you Grace. That means so much coming from you:)

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  22. Very interesting, Louise. I never heard of her. (she looks very crabby in that painting!) What a fascinating life she led.
    The Kuih Rose cookies are really unusual..imagine the molds are hard to find.

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    1. Thanks Barbara. I don't know about "crabby." It is said she didn't like to be photographed and she was extremely self conciseness about her size. Size or not, she did amazing things!

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  23. A very interesting post. She was quite a lady.

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  24. What an interesting read, Louise! Lottie sounds like quite a woman who was brave and loyal in helping the people. Thanks for sharing this.

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    1. You are so welcome, Pam. I'm glad you enjoyed it:)

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  25. thanks for another interesting post, louise, i hv never heard of miss lottie. It's amazing that how she used cookie to open up the relationships with the people and gets connected and the love she had shown to help the universe. Thanks for the mentioned on our bake along event, her teacake recipe would be a very interesting one, i need to save the recipe .

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    1. Oh how I hope you get to try the recipe, Lena. It seems to have won many hearts:)

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  26. I had not heard of Lottie Moon before--thanks for sharing. I can so see breaking barriers with cookies. So many posts on Chinese New Year lately--may need to celebrate it next year. We can all use another holiday in winter, right?

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    1. I've been wanting to celebrate Chinese new year on this blog since its inception I just didn't know how to approach it since I know little about the celebration. I'm glad I finally did. It would be wonderful for you to celebrate next year, Inger...

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  27. I love old recipes that state "season to taste." You have to be some kind of cook to follow most of the vintage variety. Again, a great post chock full of information.

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    1. Quite frankly, I don't know how they did it when it came to baking, Debra. But, indeed they did and they passed the recipes on from generation to generation. pretty amazing. So glad you enjoyed the post. it was fun to revisit, Lottie:)

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  28. Thank you for the introduction to a lady who sounds like she led a very interesting (and fruitful) life. I had not heard of her before. Love all the interesting Chinese New Year cookies, too. You never cease to amaze, Louise!

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Through this wide opened gate,
none came too early,
none returned too late.

Thanks for dropping in...Louise

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