Sunday, September 21, 2008

Biblical Fruit Cake

Smurf, you'll at least love the title of the post ;)

I just finished reading Faraway Summer by Johanna Hurwitz. (Excellent historical children's fiction.) A young Russian-Jewish immigrant from the tenements of New York City spends two weeks of her summer on a Vermont farm with a Christian family as part of a charity run by the Fresh Air Fund. Throughout the stay, Hadassah Rabinowitz and Emma and Eleanor Meade become close friends. They learn to appreciate the differences of their backgrounds and find the many ways in which they are the same. There is a short appearance by the photographer Wilson Bentley, and a parallel between the uniqueness of each snowflake and the uniqueness of each person becomes a underlying theme of the book. Before Hadassah returns home to New York, Mrs. Meade, who has been struggling to learn and remember some basic kosher laws at meals, makes a fruit cake. She tells Hadassah that the "recipe" comes from the Old Testament and look up the references for each ingredient together.

I'm copying out the recipe here, just as Hadassah copied it into her journal. I think Sweetling and Pinky and Violet will love making this some Friday afternoon. (I am going to make a few changes to some of the verses and ingredients, but I'll note my changes after I share the original. And I'm lazy and didn't type out the chapters and verses.)

1 cup--Genesis 18:8 (butter)
1 cup--Psalms 19:10 (sugar)
4 whole--Jeremiah 17:11 (eggs)
2 cups--1 Kings 4:22 (flour)
1 1/2 cups-1 Samuel 30:12 (raisins)
1 1/2 cups-Song of Solomon 7:7 (dates)
1 cup--Numbers 17:8 (almonds)
1/2 cup--Genesis 24:17 (water)
2 tsp--Exodus 16:31 (honey)
1 tsp--Amos 4:5 (baking powder)
pinch--Leviticus 2:13 (salt)

Season to taste according to Chronicles II, Chapter 9, Verse 9 (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg.)
Take the first three ingredients and follow Solomon's advice, as noted in Proverbs, Chapter 23, Verses 13-14 (beat well).
Chop almonds and dates and add together with the other ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Pour batter inot a floured and buttered tube pan with a removable bottom.
Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes. Test with a toothpick to be sure cake batter has fully cooked. Cool in pan before removing.
This cake does not need frosting. However, if you sprinkle confectioner's sugar through a strainer, it will look as if sowflakes have fallen on the cake.

Having looked up the verses, I think I will make the following changes when I do this activity with the girls. First, I would never have gotten 'sugar' from reading Psalms 19:10. I'd have gotten 'honey.' But the verse that is given for honey, Exodus 16:31, is for manna which is described in the verse as being white and sweet as honey. So, I think I'll switch the verses for those two ingredients. Second, I'm thinking I'd rather substitute apples for the dates. So, I think instead of dates I'll use apples and use Proverbs 25:11. Lastly, I cannot agree that Solomon's advice in Proverbs 23:13-14 was to beat well. I'll find a different verse for that instruction.

I'm also considering concluding the recipe with either Psalm 51:7 or Isaiah 1:18.

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