Friday, September 04, 2009

Traveller’s Bread

Today I set off to England, with the standard quadruple wishes of the traveller firmly in my mind. I hope the weather is kind, the natives friendly, the food delicious, and the money does not run out. As I may be having too much fun to sit at the computer, you will still be receiving these stories at the usual time each day, as they have been posted ahead. I have reserved the right to change them at any time however!

I have little fear on the food front while I am away from Brisbane. I have a couple of days in Singapore on the way over, and am aiming to sample some genuine Nonya cuisine - and the Oxford symposium food will be marvellous, as usual.

Travellers in the past often had to provision themselves for their journeys, and this week I plan to give you some samples of their efforts and ideas. To start with, I give you Traveller’s Bread – according to the author of The Pastrycook and Confectioner’s Guide (London, 1889) - a Yankee recipe. I have no idea why this is particularly useful for travellers, and the author does not offer any explanation. Perhaps it is because the “bread” needs no yeast - which is notoriously difficult to maintain in useable condition during long journeys?

Traveller’s Bread.
This favourite with the Yankees is made by mixing with 1 lb. of flour about ½ lb. of currants, dates, figs, and raisins, all of them except the currants being chopped fine.
Stir, till quite stiff, with the coldest water obtainable – iced is the best – moving the spoon briskly in order to incorporate air with it; now knead in more flour, cut into cakes or rolls about half an inch thick, and bake in a quick oven.
All these American Breads are eaten hot, being torn or broken with the hand – not cut with a knife – and either molasses or butter may be taken with them.

Quotation for the Day.

If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.
James Michener


Anonymous said...

Have a good flight Janet. It's thanks to your mention of the Oxford Symposium on this blog last year that I'm going. I'm leaving on Saturday for the UK. I look forward to meeting you in Oxford.


Shay said...

Well...this recipe if made with cornmeal might...just mistaken for johnnycake (sometimes mis-spelled "journeycake.")

The Old Foodie said...

Hi Kathryn - see you in a week!
Shay - or a griddle cake or hearth cake or any other number of names? Maybe the author got the recipe from a "Yank" ? :)

~~louise~~ said...

Be safe Janet and have a wonderful time. Whatever the name it still sounds like comfy food to me...

Anonymous said...

Well, as it is explained in Exodus and refined and codified thereafter, the Hebrews fleeing Egypt had no time to let bread rise, so ate it flat; and from this a whole industry of Passover observation has grown. There is nothing in this recipe that says the Travellers' Bread has to be out of the oven in eighteen minutes, is there?

(Hmm, my word verification is "plain," which seems somehow suitable.)