When I started the ‘weird food’ posts, I never would have imagined that most of the weird food and recipes in the posts would come from America.
I found a real treasure trove of very old recipe books (e-book format) for free on the Gutenberg Project website. One of these is an Amish Cookbook, called ‘The Pennsylvania Dutch Cookbook’. In this cookbook I first saw a recipe for Scripture Cake.
No one knows where or when this cake was invented, but having encountered it in an old Amish cookbook, it is easy to imagine. It may have come from Europe or it may have been created on the Eastern Shore of early North America. It was sweet to eat, and a chance to modestly exhibit knowledge of the Bible. It was fun in the form of an early trivia game, and a great dish to take to a church supper.
As women moved westward across America, the recipe went with them as a small, treasured bit from “back home.” It usually travelled along as part of a prized collection of recipes.
The historical cake can still be made today. The instruction to girls probably was something like this; “Read the Biblical list of ingredients and write down your knowledge of the scriptural ingredients. Then, to be on the safe side, look in the Bible to verify your answers. You are now ready to make the cake and to your share in continuing an historical friendly tradition.”
I J, Hardspear de la Azotea certainly won’t be able to do that, so following the old Amish recipe I quote the scriptures (King James Version) with the conventional recipe right at the end.
ORIGINAL ‘SCRIPTURE’ RECIPE
1½ cups Judges 5:25
3 cups Jeremiah 6:20
6 Jeremiah 17:11
3½ cups Exodus 29:2
2 teaspoons Amos 4:5
2 Chronicles 9:9 to taste
A pinch of Mark 9:50
1 cup Genesis 24:17
1 tablespoon 1 Samuel 14:25
2 cups 1 Samuel 30:12
2 cups chopped dried Song of Solomon 2:13
2 cups slivered or chopped Numbers 17:8
Follow Solomon’s advice for making good boys, Proverbs 23:14
From the King James Version:
Judges 5:25: “He asked water, and she gave him milk; she brought forth butter in a lordly dish”.
Jeremiah 6:20: “To what purpose cometh there to me incense from Sheba, and the sweet cane from a far country? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices sweet unto me.”
Jeremiah 17:11: “As the partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not; so he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool.”
Exodus 29:2: “And unleavened bread, and cakes unleavened tempered with oil, and wafers unleavened anointed with oil: of wheaten flour shalt thou make them.”
Amos 4:5: “And offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven, and proclaim and publish the free offerings: for this liketh you, O ye children of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.”
2 Chronicles 9:9: “And she gave the king an hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices great abundance, and precious stones: neither was there any such spice as the queen of Sheba gave king Solomon.”
Mark 9:50: “Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.”
Genesis 24:17: And the servant ran to meet her, and said, Let me, I pray thee, drink a little water of thy pitcher.”
1 Samuel 14:25: “And all they of the land came to a wood; and there was honey upon the ground.”
1 Samuel 30:12: And they gave him a piece of a cake of figs, and two clusters of raisins: and when he had eaten, his spirit came again to him: for he had eaten no bread, nor drunk any water, three days and three nights.”
Song of Solomon 2:13: “The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.”
Numbers 17:8: “And it came to pass, that on the morrow Moses went into the tabernacle of witness; and, behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds.”
Proverbs 23:14: Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.
1½ cups butter
3 cups sugar
3½ cups flower
2 teaspoons baking power
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
A pinch of salt
1 cup water
1 tablespoon honey
2 cups raisins
2 cups chopped dried figs
2 cups slivered or chopped almonds
Preheat oven to 160 ˚C.
Cream together butter and sugar, beat in eggs one at a time, beating well after each one. Sift together flour, baking power, salt and spices. Add alternately with water to creamed mixture.
Stir in honey, fold in raisins, figs and almonds. Mix well. Turn into two well greased 23 x 13 x 8 cm loaf pans. Bake about 60 minutes, making sure not to over bake, until loaves test done by the toothpick test. Let cool for 30 minutes in pans before turning out onto rack.
Therefore, I tell you, don't be anxious for your life: what you will eat, or what you will drink; nor yet for your body, what you will wear. Isn't life more than food, and the body more than clothing? See the birds of the sky, that they don't sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns. Your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren't you of much more value than they? Matthew 6:25,26