Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Bermuda Foods and Fancies

Prior to the 150-passenger ship's arrival on Friday, July 28, 1609, Bermuda was uninhabited and undiscovered. And the ship's arrival was an accident as it had been blown off course during a storm. The first "Gilligan's Island" perhaps?

Fish and wild hogs were plentiful, but eight took off in the long boat which survived the landing and were never seen or heard from again. The remainder built two ships and all but two men took them and left as well. They went to Jamestown, their original destination, and imagine their shock and dismay to discover that only 60 of the original 500 settlers there had survived. They turn right around and went back to Bermuda.

By the late 1800s, Portuguese farmers from the Azores were brought in and farming, as an industry, grew. The first bananas ever exhibited in London came from Bermuda. They are the chief crop of the island.

The people who live there are formally called "Bermudians," less so as "onions" (Bermuda onions are a famous export) or slangily "rock happy." They also have the Bermuda Junior Service League which published this book of Bermudian recipes. Two (so far) caught my eye and both are for tea parties - Brits you know, must have their cuppa.

3 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 teas. vinegar
1 teas. butter
food coloring
pinch of salt
"flavoring" rum? vanilla? The book didn't say which onoe OR how much.

Put sugar, water and vinegar in a pot, low heat and stir till the sugar is dissolved. Boil gnelty without stirring for 20 minutes. Add the butter and salt and continue cooking until the candy thermometer reads 290 degrees.

Take the pot off the burner and stir in the food coloring and "flavoring."

Pour this mixture about 1/8 in. thick into the bottom of muffin tins that have been well greased with shortening, not butter. When they are cool, turn the pan upside down and tap them out. Wrap individually in candy wrappers.

WEISSE MAEUSE (White Mice in German)
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
2 cups flour

Mix all ingredients to make a soft dough. Shape into 2-in. long crescents and bake on a greased cookie sheet at 350 until golden brown - about 30 minutes. Makes about 30 "mice."

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