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The More Things Change

Needlecraft Magazine Feb. 1921

Welcome to the first J. Pandur Auction blog post! We will use this space to highlight items from upcoming sales that catch our eye or strike our fancy. Not necessarily the most expensive or rare item, but more offbeat, interesting or timely. In this first post, we will feature an issue of Needlecraft magazine from February 1921. What were people thinking about in February ninety-six years ago? Well, it seems that the more things change, the more they stay the same. In addition to the expected articles, patterns and ads for knitting, crocheting and sewing, there are recipes for treats for Valentine’s Day and Washington’s Birthday (which is actually Feb. 22, 1732), ads for mail-order seed companies, the prerequisite “Make-Money-At-Home-In-Your-Spare-Time” feature and much more!

First, let’s check out a recipe for a Washington’s-Birthday cake complete with cherry tree stump and mini hatchet!

Back in 1921 President Washington and President Lincoln got to celebrate their birthdays separately, with Lincoln’s on February 12th and Washington’s on February 22nd. President’s Day didn’t come about until 1971 as part of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, to fall on the third Monday in February, as a way to create more three day weekends and celebrate all of the US Presidents.

So, if you are in the mood to bake and be crafty on the same project, try this vintage recipe. Also, feel free to bring your creations to the sale on Wednesday to celebrate our first president’s 285th birthday!

Excerpted from Needlecraft, February, 1921, page 15:

“This is not at all the same as the oldfashioned Washington cake or pie as it is called in New England. I mean the layer-cake filled with custard. The cake described is made without eggs, which is a decided advantage at the present prices. Mix together one cupful each of light brown sugar, molasses and butter, a pinch of salt, heaping teaspoonful each of cinnamon, cloves and ginger, half a nutmeg grated, one teaspoonful of lemon-juice and a teaspoonful of soda dissolved in a little hot water. Add two cupfuls of floured raisins, a cupful of currants, quartercupful of citron cut in small pieces and the same quantity of chopped almonds. Mix all together thoroughly and add one cupful of boiling water and then add flour enough to make it so stiff that it will hold the mixing-spoon upright, and bake it in a moderate oven for one hour. When cold cover with white icing and decorate with candied cherries and halves of walnut-meats and place a small hatchet or other Washington’s-Birthday favor in the center if you can get it.”

Sounds good right?!?! Get that oven heating to Moderate!

Now here are the instructions for making the decorations for your cake along with a fabulous photo:

Washington's-Birthday Cake

“WASHINGTON’S-BIRTHDAY CAKE - Covered with White Icing and Decorated with Asparagus Fern Around the Sides, a Row of Candied Cherries Along the Top and the Broken Stump of a Cherry-Tree with the Famous “Hatchet” Sticking in It. The Stump Is Made of White Fondant Dipped in Chocolate into Which a Hatchet Made of Stiff Pasteboard with a Blade of Tinfoil Is Stuck Before the Candy Hardens. When Serving the Cake, Give Each Person a Bit of the “Cherry-Tree””

Can’t wait to taste it!!!

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