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Laura Kelly’s Canadian War Cake

February 4, 2020

Laura Cleveland Gaylord Kelly was the wife of my second great-uncle, George Kelly. She lived from 1870 to 1930, and left behind a large, hand-written book of recipes. Some were hers, some from friends, and some were clipped from newspapers.

One that amuses me the most (because I am married to a Canadian) is for Canadian War Cake. Below is how I have transcribed it (see the photo at the bottom.)

“2 cups brown sugar
2 cups hot water
1 package raisins
2 tablespoons lard
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves (I presume ground)

Boil all together five minutes after it begins to bubble. When cold add:

3 cups flour
1 teaspoon soda dissolved in
1 teaspoon hot water

Bake in two loaves in a slow oven 45 minutes or longer.

This cake is said to be better after a week or three days. As to this I cannot say. Never lasted so long.”


Canadian War Cake

Uncle DeWitt’s Punch

August 17, 2014

My cousin Court loaned me his grandmother’s hand-written cookbook a while ago, and I am going through it now to pull out some goodies.

Laura Cleveland GaylorLGK 1ad Kelly was married to my grandfather’s uncle, George Kelly. She is one of the two persons after whom I am named (the other being Gene Tierney of the movie Laura), and was a great beauty, as well as accomplished writer, and world traveler. The bulk of the cookbook was written before WWI it seems, but there may be some additions from slightly later. Laura was born in 1870, and I am not sure when she died.

I love the addendum at the end of this recipe, where one is admonished to “Hold on to banisters when going down stairs” after imbibing the drink. 

For all your fancy cool weather parties, here you go! (Note that “Claret” called for in the recipe means a dark red Bordeaux wine.)

Uncle De Witt's PunchCR

Cornbread: For Northerners Only

September 23, 2012

This is not a recipe from my granny’s files, but it is one of my mother’s favorites. It comes from Gourmet cookbook, Volume 1, my copy was published in 1974. Mom was tickled by the notation “For Northerners Only”, as it highlighted the difference between “real” cornbread (which has no sugar, according to Southerners) and “cake”, which is what Southerners call the kind of cornbread which does have sugar.

Whatever you call it, whatever your location, this stuff is tasty! I make it with two tablespoons of butter and one of bacon drippings, otherwise the taste of bacon is much too strong. I do grease the pan with bacon grease though. When we moved to Kentucky, my Canadian husband was overjoyed, because now he no longer had to explain all that bacon fat he hoarded.

One more caveat, make sure your oven temp is correct, as you don’t want this to be under or over cooked. Serve hot with lots of fresh butter.

Chocolate Chip Meringues

June 20, 2012

This one I am going to type in, as the handwriting is hard to read, even for me. Note that the original was written on the back of a used bridge tally page. My grandparents, having lived through the Depression, never, ever, wasted a scrap of paper. Nor did my mother, for that matter.

Chocolate Chip Meringues


  • 2 egg whites
  • A pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 16 ounce package of chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat the two egg whites with the pinch of salt. Beat in the sugar gradually, until stiff, then add the vanilla. (Fold in) the chocolate chips.

Drop the meringues (using a large spoon) onto a foil-lined pan. Place in the oven. Turn the oven off. Go to bed.  (Love that last part!) Here it is in Granny’s own handwriting:

Chocolate Chess Pie

June 16, 2012

(NB: This is not a recipe from one of my relatives, but an old family friend.)

As a teen, I was privileged to meet Mrs. William Peters (Louise), who was affectionately called Wheezy by her friends. Her family owned the beach cottage three south of ours, and she had five sons. She was one of the old breed of southern women, who would move to the beach for the whole summer with her kids, her husband staying in the city to work, only visiting on weekends. My mother recalled meeting her at Harris’s grocery store one day, where mom complained that the way we all ate, she had to shop every day! Mrs. Peters looked at her and plaintively said “Only once a day?”

We met because of her little Beagle dog (whose name I forget), which had been in a fight with another dog. My friend R and I took him home to her, and she brought us into the cottage, plunked us down in front of the television (a rarity at the beach at that time) and gave us cool glasses of lemonade. She told us all about her family, including her sons (of course, we were teens then) and generally was the epitome of southern graciousness.

I got to know her better as the summer went on and our mutual affection grew. She had no daughters, and took me under her wing, treating me with love and affection (it didn’t hurt that I wound up dating one of her sons for about a year.) Being a southern woman, she cooked all the time. She had many recipes for traditional southern foods, and one treasured dessert recipe that she shared with me. I’ve made it over the years for special occasions, and it is a family favorite. The recipe is really very simple, based on a Chess Pie, but with chocolate added. Here it is, in loving memory of “Wheezy” Peters, a truly gracious Southern Lady:

German Spinach

March 3, 2012

This is an interesting recipe. It’s not, as it first appears, a bacon dressing for a spinach salad, but rather a hot side dish. I haven’t tried making it, and am very tempted just to see how it turns out. If I do I’ll update and post pics here. Note that the recipe is rather back to front, you’ll want to cook the bacon before doing anything else, then make the sauce, then deal with the spinach.

Cheese Noodles

March 3, 2012

Simple, easy, yum. If you don’t like curry, I’ll bet you could substitute sautéed garlic
and some bacon bits. More yum.

Joyce I’s Blueberry Pie

March 3, 2012

I have no idea who Joyce I is, but this was in with the rest of the files,
so here it is, spots, stains, and all:

Frosted Molasses Squares

March 3, 2012

This recipe of Granny’s came to me from cousin C, and here it is, back to her via this blog!
Happy Birthday C.

Mrs. A’s Peach Pie

March 3, 2012

This pie is a perennial favorite when we’re at the beach. Cousin CvR makes a splendid version that also uses blueberries, and is to die for: