Glenice Whitting Keeps Creating: Time saving and healthy recipes to get you back to what you really want to do.
Pickle to Pie is about a boy, a great-hearted German Grossmutter and a man caught between two worlds. While I was writing the story, based on my father’s life, I discovered my great Grandmother Hedwig’s cookbook and in it was this recipe. It made enough to sustain the whole neighbourhood. I soon learnt to halve the ingredients and produce a reasonably sized fruity cake.
Below the following recipe is an extract from the book showing how the scripture cake recipe was used in the last century to teach children how to behave.
Grossmutter’s Scripture Cake (p 6 of Pickle to Pie)
1 cup butter (Judges 5: 25)
3 ½ cups plain flour (1 Kings 4: 22)
2 cups sugar (Jeremiah 6: 20)
2 cups rasins (1 Samuel 30: 12)
2 cups figs (1 Samuel 30: 12)
1 cup warm water (Genesis 24: 17)
1 cup chopped almonds (Genisis 43: 17)
6 eggs (Isaiah 10: 14)
1 tab honey (Genisis 43: 11)
pinch salt (Leviticus 2: 13)
1 teas mixed spice (1 Kings 10: 10)
2 teas baking powder (I Corinthians 5: 6)
Follow Solomon’s advice for making good boys, (Proverbs 23: 14) and you have a good cake.
Or you can
Cream butter and sugar, add honey, eggs and water. Sift flour and baking powder together. Proceed as in ordinary rules for cake making putting in the fruit and almond last of all. The raisins should be seeded, figs chopped and almonds blanched and split. Beat well. Place in a large square tin and sprinkle with slivered almonds.
Bake in a hot oven approximately 2 ½ hours.
Biblical references are from the Authorised King James Version of The Holy Bible.
Here is the extract from my book Pickle to Pieshowing how the scripture cake recipe was used in the last century to teach children how to behave.
Suddenly she calls in English, ‘Fredi, where you be?’
Even though I sit very still she sees me.
‘What you do?’
‘Playing. Always playing. I make cake, come help me in kitchen.’ I run inside and quickly climb onto a stool in front of the scrubbed wooden table. Grossmutter is the best cook and always lets me lick the wooden spoon. She puts a large mixing bowl in front of me. I groan when she hands me our family Bible. It smells just like her old boots.
I love the bright coloured pictures of sunburnt people in long dressing gowns with towels wrapped around their heads but the words are so scratchy and hard to know. The thin pages with shiny gold edges keep sticking together and I’m not allowed to lick my fingers. Inside the black cover are a lot of names. I can see mine.
Grossmutter takes her mother’s cookbook down from the shelf, opens it where a postcard marks the page and says, ‘Today we make Scripture Cake. Two cups butter, Judges chapter five, verse twenty-five. Look it up, Fredi.’ I put my finger on the place and slowly read, ‘He asked water, and she gave him milk: she brought forth butter in a lordly dish.’
‘Very goot. This from Deborah’s song of praise toGott and mit Gott’shelp when friend ask you for water, like Deborah, you give him more.’ I wished I had a friend. I wish someone would come to play and if they wanted a glass of water I’d give them milk. And if the milk was going sour, I could do what Grossmutter does and sweeten it with baking soda. Grossmutter puts the butter in the bowl. ‘Now sugar. Jeremiah six, twenty.’
‘To what purpose cometh there sweet cane from a far country.’
‘Here people have sinned and Gott is very angry.’ Grossmutter says, shaking the wooden spoon at me. ‘You must always obey Gott’slaws. You must always obey my laws. People must have laws or they sin and get into much trouble. One cup water, Genesis twenty four, sixteen.’
‘And the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin, no man had known her: and she went down to the well, and filled her pitcher with water. What is a virgin, Grossmutter?’ She looks hard at me and quickly says, ‘An angel. Beautiful angel. Make goot wife. Abraham looking for wife for Isaac.’ She taps the Bible. ‘You remember Isaac, don’t you? Gottgive him Rebecca. Maybe mit Gott’shelp I find you goot wife?’
‘I don’t want a wife.’
‘Later, Fredi, much later you want wife and may Gottbless you mitbeautiful angel.’ I’m glad I made her smile. Grossmutter doesn’t smile very often. She is too busy looking after sick babies and me. She is always washing, ironing and cooking; always cooking. She tells everyone how proud she is of Grossvater’s round tummy and says that it proves she’s a good cook. Now she taps the bible saying, ‘We take honey, Genesis forty three, eleven.’
‘Carry down to Joseph as a present, a little honey.’
‘Joseph lose his family for a long, long time. When he find them he so happy and ask them to live mithim.’ I know my father’s name is Joseph so I ask, ‘Will my father ask me to go and live with him and Mother one day?’
‘You live here mitus. This your home.’
I wriggle in my chair. I like to make cakes and love eating them but I want to go back to my cave and play with my soldiers. ‘Can I go now?’
Grossmutter peers at me over the top of her reading glasses. ‘Cakes not make themselves. Find Isaiah ten, thirteen.’
I know better than to disobey so I quickly continue, ‘As one gathereth eggs, have I gathered all the earth: and there was none that moved the wing, or opened the mouth, or peeped.’ I can tell Grossmutter wishes I wouldn’t keep opening my mouth and peeping because before I get a chance to say anything more she firmly says, ‘Pinch of Salt, Leviticus two, thirteen.’
‘And every … oblation… What does that mean?’
‘Sacrifice to Gott.’
‘And every oblation of thy meat offering shalt thou season with salt.’
‘Salt sting but is goot. Salt and water heals wounds. Gott’slove heals souls. Spices to taste, First Kings ten, ten.’
‘There came no more an abundance of spices as these which the Queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.’
‘Hrummp,’ grumbles Grossmutter. ‘Solomon wise King but Solomon a man. Too much spice no goot. Two teaspoons baking powder. First Corinthians five, verse eight.’
‘Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.’
Grossmutter stares at me. ‘Truth, always the Truth. Gott will know if you not tell the truth.’
All I can think about is that God must have been looking the other way when I pinched the peaches off Grossvater’s tree and threw the stones in the garden. He found them when he was weeding and asked , ‘Wo kommen die denn her– where have these come from, Fredi?’
‘The birds must have eaten them,’ I replied.
‘Ja, Ja,’ he said with a grin and kept pulling out weeds. Now Grossmutter is looking at me and saying, ‘Three cups flour, first Kings four, twenty-two.’
‘And Solomon’s provisions for one day was thirty measures of fine flour,’ I read.
Grossmutter nods her head. ‘Solomon wise man. He say love better than hate. Forgiveness better than ointment for soul. Now we mix. Proverbs twenty-three, verse fourteen. Follow Solomon’s advice for making goot boys.’ I squirm in my seat as I read, ‘Thou shalt beat him with the rod and shalt deliver his soul from hell. I’ll be goot, Grossmutter. I’ll be very goot.’
She laughs and ruffles my hair. Tucking a stray hair into her bun she says, ‘Always remember, Fredi, religion goot but all that counts is how you live.’
Thank you Wendy for the opportunity of including this in your fascinating blog/website
Glenice Whitting is an Australian author and playwright and has published two novels. She was a hairdresser for many years before she became a mature age student and was awarded entry into the Golden Key International Honour Society for academic excellence. Her Australian/German novel, Pickle to Pie, was short -listed for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript. It co-won the Ilura Press International Fiction Quest and was launched during The Age Melbourne Writers’ Festival.
Three years as an on-line editor and columnist at suite101.com resulted in an ebook Inspiring Women. Glenice’s play Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow was produced during the Fertile Ground New Play Festival. Her published works include biographies, reviews, numerous short stories and two novels. Her latest American/Australian novel, Something Missing, is published by MadeGlobal Publishing. She completed the journey from VCE to PhD when she gained her Doctorate of Philosophy (Writing) from Swinburne University in 2013. She began tutoring a Memoir Writing Group in 2015. Glenice’s blog Writers and Their Journey can be found at her website, www.glenicewhitting.com