Nancy Mae Antrim
(University of Texas at El Paso)
Story behind this recipe
Here is a favorite family recipe of mine that has proved popular at the University of Southern California where I did my graduate work and at the University of Texas at El Paso where I now teach language acquisition and ESL methodology (among other things).
This is how the recipe was given to me by my mother. After some experimentation I found 1/2 stick of butter or margarine to be equivalent to the size of an egg. About 1/2 cup of milk produces the right consistency for the dough and about 30 minutes for the required baking time. Wrapping the bread right after taking it from the pan before it is cooled is crucial otherwise you end up with a hard brick - perhaps suited for building but not for eating!
I've often heard what good cooks noted linguists were, so I hope you get more responses and are able to publish the cookbook.
I'm not much of a cook, and many of my favorite recipes come from different parts of the country, but here's a local specialty that I make once a year for Christmas Eve with my aunt. It's so easy that it hardly qualifies as 'cooking'! I have added a short narrative in the tradition of The Joy of Cooking (about which there was a wonderful article in the PMLA a few years ago).
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
1/2 cup sugar
Amount of butter the size of an egg
1/2 cup of raisins
Sift together: 1 1/2 cups flour with 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and a pinch of salt. To this add 1/2 cup sugar. Add to this an amount of butter the size of an egg, cream together. Add a generous 1/2 cup of raisins. Blend in enough milk to make a soft dough. Bake at 350 F until brown. Immediately wrap in a damp cloth until cooled.