Applesauce Cake, 1936

A few months ago a friend Aaryne sent me a little booklet she ran across somewhere in her travels. It made her think of me, she said, which shows she knows me pretty well. It’s called Successful Baking for Flavor and Texture.  The name alone is a giveaway that it wasn’t written recently. It was published in 1936 by the company that made Arm & Hammer baking soda.

 

homegrown, home canned applesauce

I’ve marked out several recipes to try and today I decided to make the Applesauce Cake. I’m still working my way through bushels of apples so I’m always looking for ways to use my apple abundance.

 

 

 

While I was making the cake, I went to the pantry for raisins and realized I was completely out of them. However, I did find 3 bags of dates, so I probably should have made the fruit cupcakes (that called for dates) on the facing page. Another day. I was also short on walnuts but I thought the cake was just fine with the ½ cup I used. It would have been a much more rich, heavy cake with the extra nuts and the raisins.

 

I frosted it with a simple icing of 3 T. honey and 4 oz. cream cheese with a little splash of vanilla. I thought it was delicious for a 95 year old cake (recipe)! (And now I’ve joined the masses of women who have baked “for flavor and texture!”)

 

Print Recipe
1936 Applesauce Cake
Servings
pieces
Ingredients
Servings
pieces
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Sift, then measure the flour. Sift three times with the baking soda, salt, and spices. (I sifted once, just for that authentic flair.) Cream the butter well. Gradually add sugar, beating after each addition. Add the egg, beating well, then the raisins and nuts. Alternately add the dry ingredients and applesauce, beating until smooth after each addition. Turn into a greased loaf pan or 9x9 pan. Bake at 350 until done.

The Victories of the Flowers, by C.S. Harrison, 1906

“How precious are thy thoughts to me, Oh God.”

The unfolding of the blossom is a revelation of the precious thoughts of God. I am overwhelmed at times with the thought that God has been forgotten in our homes and in our land. In the early days, Minnesota was a glorious garden of flowers and all the air was laden with the breath of their smiles. Man turned His flower gardens into wheat fields, but it is too bad they did not remember what He can do for them. Flowers are His songs unsung, silent poems, eloquent with His praise.

How many battles have been lost in our great cities when there were only dingy walls instead of God’s green fields.

A friend of mine had charge of the railroad gardens of one line entering one of the neglected portions of Boston. The directors said “You need not try anything in the city limits. The hoodlum’s will tear them up as soon as you plant them.”

“Leave that to me,” he said, “There is a fine piece of ground and I want to show you what I can do with it.” He commenced work and the children of the slums gathered around him, boys and girls in dirt and rags.

He asked, “Have any of you seen the Boston gardens on the other side of the city?” Some of them had and gave glowing descriptions of their beauty.

“Now,” said he, “You boys and girls haven’t had fair play. They have put the flower gardens on the other side of the city and now l am going to plant some for you.” The little fellows were anxious to take hold and help.

“Now when the the flowers blossom, you must not touch them, for they are for everybody, and if you pick a flower it will be robbing the rest and it won’t be fair.” There were hundreds of plants left over and he distributed them. Tin cans were hunted up and filled with dirt and girls and boys took them home. And there were signs of improvement right along. A poor woman in her poverty and want sat in her dingy rooms in a great city. She was sick and depressed. A kind girl, one of God’s sunbeams, which He sometimes sends into the darkness, visited her and diagnosed the case. Next day she brought in two pots of roses in full bloom. Their beauty and fragrance were as ministers of light. How she loved them and cared for them, and from that day on she began to improve.

Sometimes the soul gets sick and needs feeding. Often on the farm there will be abundant food for the palate and stomach. Many a well fed woman has a great longing for something beautiful which will feed the higher nature, and that is why this love of the lovely is implanted in our souls down here. It is not safe to starve the best that is in us.

Sewing in School, by Teacher Mary L. Murphy; 1913

Practical education seems to be the cry of the people, especially in rural schools where only a small per cent of the children ever go beyond the eighth grade and of those who go through high school still fewer go beyond.With that thought in mind I aim to teach sewing two Friday afternoons a month. I plan the sewing and do the cutting and either do the basting or show the children how to do it.

The girls very readily took up with the sewing plan, but at first the boys thought it would be very queer for them. If it is possible, the boys work at carpentry.

We talked of things that boys and girls could easily make and each child selected his article, the material for which the parents gladly furnished.

The various articles which have been made so far this term are:

Pincushions, two boys, four girls.
Sofa pillow in cross stitch, one boy.
Sofa pillow, crash, fringe edge with initials, one boy; two girls.
Fancy-work aprons: three girls
Handkerchiefs: two girls.
Dresser scarfs: three girls.
Towels, hemming and monogram; two boys; two girls.
Kitchen aprons, cross stitch; two boys.

There are fourteen pupils in my school and everyone, even the smallest, has finished at least one piece and all take an interest in the work.

 

When there is any machine sewing to be done, as with the kitchen aprons, the mother is asked to do that at home. We use two rows of cross stitch to hold the hem down and have some simple design worked above that on aprons.

 

The children can easily be told where and how to begin work. Children will to do ripping in many cases but will be more careful the next time and they usually do it cheerfully when they see the difference in the right and wrong way.

I use my own original designs when anything is to be monogrammed or embroidered.

The parents are very much in favor of this work. They say, for the girls especially, that they are taking an interest in sewing which they never before showed. Those that hated it, are now liking it. There is no lack of interest on the boys’ part, for they have asked to be allowed to take sewing home to work on, the boys can make useful things.

Sewing for the wee folks requires more planning and I sometimes have them work at other things as color work, paper cutting, etc.

Some of the work begun at school is finished at home but even if it is not done exactly right it stimulates the child to greater effort and in time he will learn the difference between good and poor work.

It is best to plan things as simple as possible, for children from 6 to 12 years old are not very persevering and well enough instructed in the art of needle craft to do difficult work.

True Happiness, 1933

Everybody is trying to get there first. It is just hurry-scurry from one thing to another. Everybody seems to be wanting something she doesn’t have, and is in a hurry to get it before someone else does. After we do get a thing, we never have time to enjoy it, but just start thinking about something else we want.

This sounds like a good description of 2019, doesn’t it? But this was originally written in 1933, during the Great Depression. In an era characterized by widespread poverty, I expected people would have been more appreciative of their meager possessions in light of others in a worse position. Somehow, I imagined more contentment and less running after the next thing. But people are people the world over. We covet the latest iphone, maybe they coveted the brand new board game of 1933–Monopoly or the latest record for the victrola.

It’s hard for us to separate material possessions from happiness. Even our country’s economy measures success by how much we’re spending. But many of us have come to realize that all this stuff hasn’t made us happy. The current minimalism trend is a reaction to the many years of economic prosperity which led to our unchecked materialism. But simply getting rid of everything won’t guarantee happiness, either. Happiness comes from within and consists of enjoying the things we have, which aren’t necessarily material things.

Work? Why be happy about work? Ask the man out of work what he wants most. Health? Why, of course. Yet few of us appreciate it, or try to keep it until we begin to lose it. Ask the invalid what she wants most.

The fact of the matter is we all want happiness, and happiness is just enjoyment of the things most of us have–work, health, home, family, and friends. Being satisfied and content with what we have: this is happiness.