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Abraham Lincoln and Gingerbread Cookies

Discussion in 'Foods of the Civil War' started by donna, Sep 13, 2011.

  1. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    Gingerbread cookies were one of Lincoln's favorites. In "The Prairie Years", Carl Sandburg told a story of Abraham Lincoln and gingerbread. This is story that Lincoln told in his senatorial debates with Stephen A, Douglas in 1838. Lincoln said, according to Sandburg:

    "When we lived in Indiana, once in a while my mother used to get some sorghum and ginger and make some gingerbread. It wasn't often and it was our biggest treat. One day I smelled the gingerbread and came into the house to get my share while it was still hot. My mother had baked me three gingerbread men. I took them out under a hickory tree to eat them. There was a family near us poorer than we were and their boy came along as I sat down. 'Abe,' he said, 'gimme a man.' I gave him one. He crammed it into his mouth in two bites and looked at me while I was biting the legs off my first one. 'Abe, gimme that other'n'. I wanted it myself, but I gave it to him and as it followed the first, I said to him, 'You seem to like gingerbread.' "Abe', he said, 'I don't s'pose anybody on earth likes gingerbread better'n I do-and gets less'n I do.."

    The audience loved this story and it was widely published in newspapers. Years later, Lincoln reportedly repeated the story in the White House, mentioning details of his mother's recipe. Her recipe has been lost but I am listing one for all to follow and enjoy these wonderful cookies.

    Gingerbread Men Cookies:

    3 3/4 cup all purpose flour
    2 teaspoons ground ginger
    1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
    1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temperature, softened
    2 eggs
    1/2 cup molasses

    In a medium bowl, combine flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. In a large bowl, with mixer on low speed, beat brown sugar and butter for about 3 minutes or until well blended.

    Add eggs and molasses and beat on low speed until combined. With spoon slowly stir in flour mixture until well blended.

    Divide dough into 3 equal pieces then flatten. Wrap each third in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour or until dough is firm to roll. Roll out dough and cut with gingerbread cutter. Bake cookies at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes.

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  3. Elaine Kessinger

    Elaine Kessinger Private

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    Several Period Recipes for Gingerbread from:

    The New England Economical Housekeeper, 1845
    http://digital.lib.msu.edu/projects/cookbooks/display.cfm?TitleNo=25&PageNum=27
    http://digital.lib.msu.edu/projects/cookbooks/display.cfm?TitleNo=25&PageNum=28

    Miss Beecher's Domestic Receipt Book, 1846/1850
    http://www.raggedsoldier.com/measurments.pdf

    The Housekeeper's Assistant, 1845
    http://digital.lib.msu.edu/projects/cookbooks/display.cfm?TitleNo=47&PageNum=26

    The Frugal Housewife, 1830
    http://digital.lib.msu.edu/projects/cookbooks/display.cfm?TitleNo=3&PageNum=82

    American Cookery, 1798
    http://digital.lib.msu.edu/projects/cookbooks/display.cfm?TitleNo=1&PageNum=35

    The Practical Housekeeper, 1857
    http://digital.lib.msu.edu/projects/cookbooks/coldfusion/display.cfm?ID=prho&PageNum=488

    -----------------------------------------------------
    Mrs. Mescher's article on De-mystifying period measurements and temperatures in period recipes: http://www.raggedsoldier.com/measurments.pdf
  4. Hannah

    Hannah Sergeant Major

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    Thanks for sharing. The recipe looks tasty so I'll print it out and try it sometime.
  5. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    This is Abraham Lincoln story on gingerbread. Thought since Gingerbread recipe was posted in Food Forum would bring this thread up. I sure wish it could be moved to the food forum.

    Can a Moderator or Mike do this for me.

    Thanks.
  6. JPK Huson 1863

    JPK Huson 1863 Captain Forum Host

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    The gingerbread cookies I have is almost exactly the same, but adds ground clove? I think it might be what kind of adds the kick to the old-timey flavor.
  7. kholland

    kholland 1st Lieutenant Forum Host Trivia Game Winner

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    Wonderful story Donna.
  8. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    We love gingerbread at Christmas time. Since I just posted Mrs. Jefferson Davis' recipe for gingersnaps, thought I bring this recipe up again. Lincoln loved these cookies as Jefferson Davis loved ones his wife made.

    Enjoy this one and Mrs. Davis' recipe. Happy Holidays.

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