Janella Hendon is a historian from Dublin, Texas. Today she sends us a vintage recipe from the 1800s. If you’ve done any reading at all from that period, you know that tea cakes graced the table whenever possible. My own grandmother went to her grave talking about “tea cakes.”
Thanks for reminding us, Janella!
The following recipe was hand written in a cookbook, giving instructions on how to make tea cakes. This was the recipe of Louisa Jane White Barbee of Edna Hill. She would have been making these in the late 1800s. Her grandchildren all remembered her cookies as wonderful, kept under a cloth spread over the table.
Louisa Jane live from 1865 –1947 — She married 1883. Her parents also lived in Edna Hill – close to the old gin.
There are stories the grandchildren told about stopping by Grandma’s (Jane’s mother who lived until 1910) to get cookies on the way home from school. This recipe could have easily come from the 1870’s or 1880’s.
I found it written in an old cookbook that was her oldest daughter. Lena, the daughter, married in 1810 – but it may have been written before that. I have a long list of items that Lena had to accumulate before she was considered ready to marry – number of quilts, dish cabinets (sets of cooking and dish items.)
Those girls really had to be prepared to set up a household when they married! Louisa Jane was known to be a writer, as she ballads and hymns.
2 cups of buttermilk*
2 teaspoons of cloves
2 teaspoons of soda
2 cups of currants
4 cups of flour
2 teaspoons of spices *?
2 teaspoons of nutmeg
2 cups of lard
* Not sure if this meant 2 teaspoons of other spices or it it meant 2 teaspoons of total spices. Also, the “cups” would have been whatever she was using for cups at the time since this was before standardized measuring cups.
No mixing instructions were given. -Janella Hendon