22 August, 2010

Vintage Sunday: A Baking Contest!

The Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst MA is holding an awesome baking  contest for the next month - a contest which just so happens to fit right in with our usual Vintage Sunday feature.

The basic idea of the baking contest is simple:  Choose one of four period baked goods that Emily Dickinson is known to have made - Gingerbread, Black Cake, Coconut Cake, or Rye and Indian Bread - and, using Ms. Dickinson's own recipes (provided as part of the rules) develop a modern recipe suitable for today's kitchen.

There's a catch, of course.  Cookbooks in Emily Dickinson's day assumed that the reader knew her way around the kitchen and were familiar with the proper techniques and methods needed to produce edible food.  Therefore, recipes were usually little more than lists of ingredients.  Take, for example, Dickinson's own recipe for gingerbread:

1 Quart Flour
1/2 Cup Butter
1/2 Cup Cream
1 Table Spoon Ginger
1 Tea Spoon Soda
1 [Teas Spoon] Salt
Make up with molasses.

Using only these ingredients (measurements may be varied) you would need not only to make delicious gingerbread, but to document your process in order to submit - along with samples of the gingerbread to be tasted by judges - a modern recipe with quantities, ingredients, and full instructions including oven temperature, size of pan, and baking time.

Entrants must preregister by submitting an Intention-to-Enter Form by September 21 and deliver the completed recipe as well as a sample of the baked good itself on Saturday September 25th at the museum between 11:00 am and 1:30 pm.

This sounds like a lot of fun.  Full recipe rules and more information may be found HERE.  Good luck!

Special thanks to reader Zoe for passing along news of this contest to me.

1 comment:

zoe p. said...

If anyone does this (or even just attends) could you comment or link here? I'd love to hear more from anyone who experiments with this . . .