Wednesday, May 27, 2009


So yesterday I went up to the DUP archives in SLC to waste a little time while I waited for another appointment. Its a funny place. They don't let you take laptops in, and they don't let you take notes on their collected life histories of the DUPs. Instead, you're supposed to pay $.25 for a copy of each page. That's their buisness plan.

Anyway, while I was there, I got to looking at a woman named Sarah Elizabeth Scott McCune. Born in England, she married an army doctor who was promptly assigned to a station in India. She went with him. She lived in Burma and Calcutta until things got too hairy with an insurrection. They joined the church there-- in INDIA of all places, and her hubby took a plural wife-- IN INDIA of all places. Anyway, they fled the uprising just before a hundred "white people" were massacred by the colonials they thought they were doing a favor.

Several recipes came out of this experience. One, in Sarah's handwriting, is facsimile reproduced in Heartthrobs of the West volume 11. If you've ever done much research in 19th century documents, you know that deciphering some of the Spencerian script can be laborious, and some of the usages are archaic. So here's what I could make of it:

"Conversation Biscuit" [a sort of tea cookie]
2 lbs of flour
2 ounces of Salt Butter
16 ounces of loaf Sugar [why not 1 lb?]
1 [?] vol. salts [this would be baking soda, so probably an ounce for that much flour?]
4 [?] eggs [dozen?]
16 drops [?] lemon [this should be some sort of essential oil]
1 gill [unintelligible-- maybe rum?]
N.B. Dough without water. Stamp--oven solid

So what do you make of that? Anyone want to take a stab at making these? She noted that the reason for the large volume recipe was that in her quarters she was cooking for more than 40 people. Other recipes that came from this stint in India include East India Curry with Rice, and Bengal Chutney, all of which were served in territorial Utah before the railroad.

Sometimes I like finding stories about Mormon conversions in colonial India almost as much as finding recipes...


Mr.Westover said...

"Stamp" may refer to the cutting of the cookie, Shay Lelgren posits that cookie cutters were called "cake stamps", his arguments being that you dont call them cookies until they are baked. I have a period illistration of a cookie cutter (Illustrations of Trades, Tomlinson,pp 19) that calls is a "paste cutter". What do you think?