The other day, Kelly (A Messy Kitchen) sent the following amazing message:
Oh my gosh, I just saw your site referenced in the video of a hilarious guy I follow! He was trying out all different recipes for Food of the Gods and when he said etherwork.net I did a massive double take and had to back up and double check!
Of course, she sent me the link so I could bask in the glory.
B. Dylan Hollis | Food for the Gods | 1909 Recipe
Did I say I was going to “bask in the glory”?
I admit that what Dylan said is hilarious!! But what a shame that he thinks the cookies would be terrible, judging by the photo I took at Christmas 2007. Apparently they look like tiles….
I assure you; the squares were DELICIOUS! (Too bad Dylan didn’t actually read the link at the bottom of the photo of the cookies to see that the link says “includes recipe”. Such is the life of the Instagram-short-attention-span generation….)
I attempted to leave a comment on YouTube. Alas, my comment was not approved. Perhaps a bot relegated it immediately into a spam box that Dylan didn’t even see. Goodness, how sad.
There are ZILLIONS of comments that were approved. They are simply brief dull things like “you’re so great” and “I love this”. I thought my comment was way more interesting. (Ha. Of course I did.)
In my comment, I tried to make it clear that that I was not upset or angry, or had taken any offense at all. I tried to assure him that the Food for the Gods that I had made weren’t hard and crispy like tiles. (I put a link to Mum’s recipe in the comment. And I used more than 2 sentences. So the bot probably tossed it out.)
I can’t remember exactly what I typed but it was something along the lines of
First of all, congratulations on your cookbook getting published.
Secondly, there is a link to Mum’s (actually my grandmother’s) recipe under the photo [then I included the link – I suspect that was my big error]
I don’t know exactly when the recipe is from but it has to be from before the 1950’s. I looked in Mum’s highschool textbook “Theory and Practice in Household Science” (1937); alas there is no mention of any squares at all, let alone “Food for the Gods”.
I had hoped that Mum’s textbook would have a recipe for Graham crackers at least. But the closest thing is a note about what “Graham flour” is. Who knew?! Apparently, it is simply whole grain wheat flour:
KINDS OF WHEAT FLOUR
Graham Flour contains the entire grain, including the outer bran coats.
Whole Wheat Flour contains the kernel, not including the two outer bran coats.
White Flour (Bread Flour and Pastry Flour) is made by removing the outer bran coats and all the germ, then grinding and sifting the remainder many times until a fine powder is obtained.
– Theory and Practice in Household Science (1937), p.17
All this got me really wondering about when exactly Nana wrote out the recipe for Mum. So I sent an email to my sister who has custody of Mum’s box of recipes, asking her to take a photo of Nana’s handwritten recipe. I hoped there might be a date at the top showing when Nana wrote it out. (Alas, no.)
The type-written recipe below is the one Mum sent to me in 2006. I like that she put in a little more detail about how to make the squares. She included the size of the pan she used. (I’m surprised from Dylan’s comments that the pan size Mum mentioned is not standard.)
I love how slightly unclear Nana’s recipe is, assuming that you really should already know the answer (how long to bake; what temperature, etc. etc.). And no hard and fast rule about what kind of nuts to use: if you want to use almonds, you can. Or hazelnuts. Or walnuts. Or pecans. Or all of them….
I had no idea that Mum called Nana “Mother” though! That seems so very very formal and a little cold. (Nana died around the time I was born, so I don’t remember her at all. But from what I understand, she was anything but cold.)
I am also amazed that Nana’s handwriting was so much more beautiful than Mum’s tight little scrawl. (I wonder if Mum had really nice handwriting before she had to learn shorthand….)
Still. I think it is VERY cool to know that I’m not the only person who reads my site.
Maybe I should try commenting again. I would have thought Dylan would be really happy to get a comment from someone he had featured in his video. (I know I was thrilled out of my mind when a cookbook author commented on something I had made from her cookbook.)
If I do try commenting again, I’ll leave the actual link out and just mention that it is there….
Just in case I don’t get back to comment:
Once again, congratulations to Dylan for having his cookbook “Baking Yesteryear” published.
Like Dylan, I love looking at old cookbooks! Don’t you?
I just looked in Mum’s copy of “The New Kate Aitken Cookbook” (1953) by Kate Aitken, to see if there is a recipe for Food for the Gods. The closest I’ve found is one for Date Chews, calling for dates and almonds.
The recipe for Walnut Drops (no dates) is also intriguing with its “Note to Gourmets” at the bottom of the recipe saying: “These cookies are rich, delectable and highly popular. Serve at your top-drawer parties or when entertaining your mother-in-law.” (Also appearing several times at the bottom of recipes is “Note to brides”.)
Mum had a copy of her penpal’s (they continued to write letters to each other until the Australian lady died sometime in the 1970s!) cookbook, the “Green and Gold Cookery Book (Wartime Finish), 20th Edition” as well. Her penpal sent the book to Mum in 1947, with the note “a souvenir of South Australia”. There is no recipe for Food for the Gods, but there is one for Date Drops that looks quite similar. There is also a recipe for “Lucky Thought” Biscuits; alas, it calls for neither dates or nuts. It has a great name though!!
edit 20 March 2023: I did go back to comment on Dylan’s video. Twice today. The first one from last week is long gone. The first one from today disappeared almost immediately. For my final attempt, I pared down some of the wording. It’s a miracle. I think that the 3rd time was lucky!
Maybe, just maybe, that final comment will stay.
» food for the gods (ECC) (includes recipe)
» I’m famous! (I’m(!!) featured in Globe & Mail Life Section article.)
» making wildbread for Globe & Mail photoshoot
» Two kinds of Cherry Snowballs: which one is your favourite? (my 15 minutes of fame in SAVEUR Magazine)
» We’re famous!! (bicycling)
» The Dinner Party Cookbook, Sunset Books 1962
» Wild Pull-apart Bread (BBB September 2019)
» Rum Babas (from The Dinner Party Cookbook, Sunset Books 1962)