Presently, the team at the Dodo are reading Calamity Jane's Letters to Her Daughter. It is possibly written by Martha Jane Cannary Hickok, aka Calamity Jane. You probably love the idea of Calamity Jane enough to burke this trifling detail, because you know that the existence of a Big Blue Ox named Babe is missing the point in reading Paul Bunyan or Pecos Bill. Plus what, most of us prefer to live in a world populated by blue oxen and women of dubious authenticity.
The book begs the question, regardless of its veracity, of what it is we leave for the future; of what to tell Jane's daughter.
The author gives a few recipes in her book, this one is for 20 Year Cake. I reprint it here exactly as in the copy of the book I borrowed from the library, Shameless Hussy Press, 1976.
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20 YEAR CAKE
25 eggs beaten separate
2 1/2 pounds sugar
2 1/2 pounds four
2 1/2 pounds butter
7 1/2 pounds seeded raisins
1 1/2 pounds citron cut very fine
5 pounds currants
1/4 ounces cloves
1/2 ounces cinnamon
2 ounces mace
2 ounces nutmet
2 teaspoons yeast powder or 2 teaspoons soda & 3 cream tartar
This cake is unexcelled & will keep good to the last crum 20 years. Pour over cakes while still warm the pint of brandy. Seal in tight crock. This will make 3cakes 8 pound each.
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By now, I know you are rushing out to obtain your own copy and trying to figure out whether to cut the recipe in quarters or fifths, but to further whet your appetite for this curious little book, know that her beloved horse was named Satan.
Calamity Jane's Letters inspired composer Libby Larson's Songs from Letters, hear some of them here.