Blueberries and Women’s History

I like to cook & bake. Yesterday, for example, I baked Rough Cut Oatmeal-Whole Wheat-Honey-Banana-Nut Bread (the recipe is inside the box of Silver Palate Rough Cut Oatmeal), chicken soup, and Favorite Blueberry Pie.  The bread because we eat a loaf a week (whether or not it lasts that long depends on who stops by).  The chicken soup because we love it. The pie because I decided summer–despite another 6 inches of snow–is coming and it’s time to use up the blueberries that I had frozen from last summer’s NJ blueberry crop.  The women’s history connection is Elizabeth White who grew up in a family that ran cranberry bogs in NJ (in a much earlier post I wrote about taking Sophie to see the harvesting of cranberries).  The first female member of the American Cranberry Association, White later devoted herself to conducting experiments with crossbreeding different types of wild blueberries. In 1916, she sent the first domesticated blueberries, Tru-Blu-Berries, to market.  She also introduced the practice of wrapping products in cellophane, which she had imported from Europe.  Today you can visit Elizabeth White’s home, which she called “Suningive,” and garden at Whitesbog, NJ, which hosts an annual Blueberry Festival.

The recipe is from a battered copy of Fannie Farmer’s The Boston Cooking School Cookbook, 6th edition and is simple: Mix together in a sauce pan: 1 cup of blueberries, 1 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons, 1 cup water. Cook over a low heat until thick. Add 3 cups of blueberries and 1 tablespoon butter.  Mix well & cool & then pour into a 9-inch baked pie shell.   Top with whipped cream, ice cream or nothing.

Today we were both home for lunch & I didn’t protest when Linda proposed a slice for “dessert,”  nor did I protest when she did the same after dinner tonight.  Although when she appeared with a regular sized slice, I said I thought she would cut a sliver since we had had it at lunch. To which she quipped, “Blueberries are good for us!” (By the way, we rarely eat dessert, really!)

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