Monday, November 17, 2008

Home Made Bread Day Recipe Rhymes

Today, November 17 is Home Made Bread Day not to be confused with World Bread Day which was back on October 16. It's a perfect day to discover the story behind a loaf of bread which begins with a grain of wheat. I would like to share a charming booklet I have titled Tummy Tingles. Authored by Josephine Beardsley, Tummy Tingles was published by The Wheat Flour Institute in 1937. Tummy Tingles is not the only wheat book published by Ms. Beardsley, she also authored a booklet tiled From Wheat to Flour the same year. I found a copy of her other booklet available online for reading at the Digital Book Index. Below is a "slice" of; From Wheat to Flour.

It seems strange that anything as small as a grain of wheat could alter the course of history, yet nothing that man ever discovered has been of more importance to him than this tiny bit of food- stuff. Who first introduced wheat into the human diet will never be known, for he lived thousands of years before recorded history.

Probably the first people who used wheat as a food simply chewed the grain, making what farm children today call wheat gum. Of course, we know now that the kernel of the wheat berry, freed of its hard outer covering, or bran, can be ground to a fine white flour and from it, a delicious food, bread, can be made, but man was a long time learning this.

We do not know just how bread first came to be made. About twenty thousand years ago, in the Stone Age, people were making a coarse flour by crushing wheat on a slightly hollowed rock with a small stone held in the hand. Moistened with water, patted into little cakes, and baked in the sun, or on a heated stone, this coarse meal gave Early Man a bread stuff which he found satisfying and strengthening. He found, too, that wheat could be kept for a long time without spoiling. By gathering it when it ripened in summer, he could store it in skins, hollow trees, or other dry places and eat it when food was scarce. This single fact caused man's history to take a new and important turn...

Tummy Tingles is beautifully illustrated by Marjorie Peters and on each of its 12 pages it has rhymes about wheat bread, biscuits, rolls, muffins, gingerbread and pancakes. There's also a poem called the Cookie Tree. It is such a delightful children's book, I thought I would share a glimpse of its contents today for Home Made Bread Day.

Now here's a bread recipe poem I found at the Nebraska History website. I've seen this rhyming recipe in a few of my vintage cookbooks but, this one is from their site which is filled with tons of historical Nebraskan links.

There once was a time when a homemaker's reputation depended, in good measure, on her ability to produce a good loaf of bread. Here's a rhyming 1903 recipe designed to help the new housewife meet with success.
Bread Recipe Poem

"When a well-bred girl expects to wed, 'tis well to remember that men like bread. We're going to show the steps to take, so she may learn good bread to bake. First, mix a lukewarm quart, my daughter, one-half o milk and one-half of water; to this please add two cakes of yeast, or the liquid kind if preferred in the least.

"Next stir in a teaspoonful of nice clear salt, if this bread isn't good, it won't be our fault. Now add the sugar, tablespoons three; mix well together, for dissolved they must be. Pour the whole mixture into an earthen bowl, a pan's just as good, if it hasn't a hole. It's the cook and the flour, not the bowl or the pan, that 'makes the bread that makes the man.'

"Now let the mixture stand a minute or two, you've other things of great importance to do. First sift the flour use, the finest in the land. Three quarts is the measure, 'Gold Medal' the brand. Next stir the flour into the mixture that's stood, waiting to play its part, to make the bread good. Mix it up thoroughly, but not too thick; some flours make bread that's more like a brick.

"Now grease well a bowl and put the dough in, don't fill the bowl full, that would be a sin' for the dough is all right and it's going to rise, till you will declare that it's twice its size. Brush the dough with melted butter, as the recipes say; cover with a bread towel, set in a warm place to stay two hours or more, to rise until light, when you see it grow, you'll know it's all right.

"As soon as it's light place again on a board; knead it well this time. Here is knowledge to hoard. Now back in the bowl once more it must go, and set again to rise for an hour or so. Form the dough gently into loaves when light, and place it in bread pans greased just right. Shape each loaf you make to half fill the pan, this bread will be good enough for any young man.

"Next let it rise to the level of pans--no more, have temperature right, don't set near a door. We must be careful about draughts; it isn't made to freeze, keep the room good and warm--say seventy-two degrees. Now put in the oven--it's ready to bake--keep uniform fire, great results are at stake. One hour more of waiting and you'll be repaid, by bread that is worthy 'a well bred maid."


The harvest of bread recipes on the internet abounds. I think the best place to begin is at the World Bread Day Roundup post. There are so many recipes to choose from and I enjoy reading about the reasons the breads were chosen. I am also intrigued by the recipe for Cuchaule that I found over at Rosa's Yummy Yums and this Crown Loaf found at Taste & Tell. The pictured bread plate above was sent to me by my daughter Michele. Thank goodness she's the bread baker in our family, because I don't bake:( and she is quite the little baker!

Not a deed would he do,
Not a word would he utter,
Till he's weighed its relation
To plain bread and butter.
James Russell Lowell

The day after Thanksgiving is National Gingerbread Day, although, there are those who celebrate Gingerbread Day in June, I will once again be posting a page from Tummy Tingles titled The Fairy Gingerbread. It's a short story as told by the Gingerbread Fairy and it also includes her recipe for Fairy Gingerbread so be sure and check back on November 28th.

  • 1. Homemade Bread Day
  • 2. World Bread Day
  • 3. The story behind a loaf of bread (very interesting yet brief enough)
  • 4. Digital Book Index
  • 5. From Wheat to Flour (available for reading online)
  • 6. The Rhyming Recipe (Nebraska website)