A little history lesson for you today…
In researching for the American Northeast, I stumbled upon a fascinating book in the library called The Food of a Younger Land. It goes on to say that in the 1930s, the Works Progress Administration employed swarms of writers under the Federal Writer’s Project (FWP). Under the FWP, the first state guidebooks were written and released, and the next big project for the writing team was to be a book called America Eats. America Eats intended to be a guidebook of sorts by asking local writers to submit regional specialties. Unfortunately before it could come to fruition, Pearl Harbor sent us into WWII. All government funding went to the war effort leaving America Eats unfinished. The incomplete manuscripts ended up in the National Archives in Washington, D.C., and eventually became part of The Food of a Younger Land, which introduces America’s food, all in the words of the original FWP writers.
When searching for a New England dessert, Indian Pudding seemed to be a popular find. According to Yankee Magazine, colonists brought to America hasty pudding from Britain and adapted it to the new world by using cornmeal, or “Indian flour” rather than wheat flour.
Tomato aptly describes its taste as “like Thanksgiving,” and I agree. I’m not sure I baked it long enough because it ended up having a very pudding-y consistency when, based on the pictures, it should have been little firmer. Nevertheless, when topped with fresh whipped cream, we had a very tasty, albeit rich, treat.
The recipe I used I comes straight from the mouth (er…pen) of WPA writer Cora A. Moore. Because the directions weren’t all that exact, I combined it with a crock pot recipe I found for the same.
Heat 4 cups of milk, add 3/4 cup of dark molasses, 1/4 cup of granulated sugar, teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon each of cinnamon and nutmeg, 4 tablespoons of butter and 1/2 cup cornmeal. Cook until the mixture thickens, pour into baking dish and add a cup of cold milk. Bake in a slow oven 3 hours without stirring. Serve while warm with butter, a hard sauce or cream.
I omitted the final cup of milk to pour over because I was afraid it was not going to set, and cooked it in my crock pot on high for three hours.
Thanksgiving’s pretty tasty.
- 3 cups of milk
- 3/4 cup of dark molasses
- 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 4 TB butter
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and cook until the mixture thickens. Pour into baking dish.
- Bake in a slow oven 3 hours without stirring. Serve while warm with butter, a hard sauce or cream.