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It’s nut bread season

By Sara Anthony Hill
For The Salisbury Post
Baking is one of the world’s oldest crafts, and baking your own bread at home is still one of the singular pleasures of life. Bread is essential at every meal ó at least my husband thinks so.
But nut breads are a whole different bowl of dough. Not only is Sept. 22 the first day of autumn, but it’s the day that, for me, ushers in “nut bread season.”After some research, I found that there was bread on this earth as far back as prehistoric times, but the earliest archaeological evidence of leavening (dough left to rise) is from ancient Egypt. Now I know that the heavenly, sweet manna ó without nuts ó was sent down by God to feed his people, but I just wonder when and who first came up with the idea of putting nuts and fruits into a sweet bread.
As the public relations manager of his company, my husband, George, would bring home a cookbook from every city or state he traveled in.
The name of one book, “Mrs. Hill’s New Cookbook” caught his eye and as always, after writing endearing words inside the front cover, he gave it to me. I tell you about this particular book because I was on a quest. “Mrs. Hill’s New Cookbook” was written by Mrs. A.P. Hill, widow of the Honorable Edward Y. Hill of Georgia, originally published in 1867 with a subtitle (Housekeeping Made Easy ó A practical system for private families in town and country). This is a wonderful, informative 417 pages of pertinent data and recipes for young women starting housekeeping in the 1800s.
In Mrs. Hill’s book, there are many bread recipes and some cakes with fruit, but none were offered with nuts. So I suppose I can safely assume that nut breads have evolved within the past 140 years. Well, that narrows it down. But I have reached the end of my first quest. Google has no clue. From whence it came, I thank you. The women at First United Methodist Church thank you. Those heavenly nut breads appear just like manna on Sunday mornings at fellowship time. Don’t you just love food and fellowship?
In giving accolades to the FUMC women, a cookbook is being published in celebration of the church’s 225th anniversary. These are tried and true recipes, with some being passed down for generations. This will be a must for your kitchen library. I was told the book will be ready before Thanksgiving, just in time for Christmas gifts for the cooks in your family.
It’s difficult for me to choose a favorite nut bread. The Pumpkin Bread, the most traditional, I’ve made for more than 30 years. (Maybe we’re narrowing the gap here). I believe everyone has a good pumpkin bread recipe, but I’ll share mine with you. This recipe makes two loaves with the same amount of effort as one. I like that. You can keep one and give one as a gift. Also, it freezes well. Try some or all of the recipes below during this wonderful “nut bread season.”

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