05 December 2009

Elizabeth David's Christmas

I love Elizabeth David, but I can’t name a single one of her childhood neighbors. During her lifetime, she never completed a proposed Christmas book of recipes. Years after her death, he long time editor, Jill Norman, pulled out her notes for the project, and arranged it into book form.

The fruitcake in Elizabeth David’s Christmas collection was a surprise to me. It is an old Southern scripture cake. The origins of these cakes go back to the mid-1800’s. They were popular among women as a way to pass on not only baking, but a robust lesson on the Bible. In order to make the cake, one must first read the Bible verses to find the ingredients. No one knows the true origin of this cake, but I love to think of Elizabeth David mixing one up.
A Christmas Recipe for an Old Testament Cake

4-1/2 cups of 1 Kings IV 22
1 ½ lb of Judges V 25
2 cups of Jeremiah VI 20
2 cups of 1 Sam. XXX 12
2 cups of Numbers XVII 8
2 cups of Nahum III, 12
2 teaspoons of 1 Sam. XIV 25
Season to taste with 2 Chron. IX 9
Six Jeremiah XVII 11
1 1/2 cups Judges IV 19
2 teaspoons of Amos IV 5
A pinch of Leviticus II 13

Directions Proverbs XXIII 14

Bake 1 to 2 hours

SOLUTION: Operative words in each verse:

Fine flour
Sweet cane
Ripe figs

I did so want to make you grab your Old Testament and find the key, but Elizabeth was such a sport. Now get thee to the kitchen.

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