Tuesday, August 3, 2021

PIES FOR EVERY SEASON by Marisa Masterson

 The rich, spicy scent of pumpkin pie fills my kitchen every November. It's a pie that I have to make at least two of to satisfy the hungery eaters in my family. Since Thanksgiving is a holiday celebrating abundant harvest, eating pumpkins and making extra pies seems appropriate.

In the late summer and early fall, blackberries and apples are ripe. The perfect time to have berry pie (with cherries added into it). My family loves deep dish apple pie with Dutch crumb topping as well.

But what about summer? What pie represents that season?

Think lemon. The woman who created America's first cooking school, Elizabeth Goodfellow, gave us the ideal treat for summer. she invented the lemon meringue pie. Capturing the best of a glass of lemonade on a hot day, the pie is bright and has an airy topping. 

Goodfellow operated a pastry shop in Philadelphia. One of her signature desserts was a rich lemon pudding. Its recipe called for only egg yolks. Goodfellow poured the pudding into a crust and added the whipped whites after it cooled. In that way, she was able to use the entire egg.

One of her famous students, Eliza Leslie, popularized the meringue topping with her widely read 1847 cookbook. In The Lady's Receipt-Book: A Useful Companion For Large Or Small Families, Leslie advised women that a covering of meringue improved any baked pudding. (As the back of receipts were commonly used to write down recipes, the term receipt was widely used rather than our modern word.)

By the 1860s, this was one of the more common pies served at the White House. Abraham Lincoln loved the meringue topping and asked often for it. At the time, the pie was known by several names. Lemon cream pie and iced lemon pie being two of the more common names.

I've spent the summer thinking about lemon pie. It was the theme of a book I wrote in June and July. Two kinds of lemon pie: one with meringue and one that uses the whole egg in its filling. Light versus solid. 

The contrast is at the heart of my hero's problem. He wanted one woman, sweet and flirty, but ends up married to another, a serious, down-to-earth lady. Will he see past the fluff that attracts him to realize what he really needs in life?

Excerpt from Lemon Pie by Lucinda:

“It’s not a lemon pie. Where’s the meringue?”

“But, it’s not that kind of lemon pie. This is a lemon custard.”

Running his hands over his face, Ty groaned. “Not only did I get the wrong girl, but the pie’s all wrong.”

Lucy stilled her hands, not wanting to reach for the pie server. The sharpened point, used to pry out any reluctant crust, might tempt her to use it on her companion.

The one thing she could do right—bake—and he rejected it!

“Shall I put the pie away and ignore you? That way you won’t need to suffer with the wrong pie or the wrong girl.” Cold ice froze her sentence in the air between them.

Ty shook his head. “Nope. I want my dessert. Might as well eat what I bought.” He eyed the pie warily. “But why not a lemon meringue pie like everyone else makes?”

With determination, Lucy mentally shrugged away the urge to be angry. Could the man not hear how insulting he sounded? Why did she want to please him even after he said what he did?

“I guess my family’s different. Like I am, that is.” 


Available now for pre-order at Amazon.

Two ladies named Lucinda. I know—confusing, right? But the schemers in this story play on the fact that both are Lucinda.

One is Lucinda Kay. She hates the name and goes by Lucy. The other is Lucinda Kilbourne. Another Lucinda K.

If a person wasn’t listening closely, he could become confused. Wink! Wink!

Lucy never uses her real name. Reverend Caldwell surprises her when he calls her by that name at the pie auction. She's even more surprised when Ty Goodson bids on her pie. He's never shown her a bit of interest, and whoever wins her pie will have to share a lunch with her.

What follows is a series of misadventures and a night spent in a cave. That night alone with each other leads them into a forced marriage—a shotgun marriage with Ty’s father holding the gun.

How will Lucy win the love of a man who longs for a different Lucinda? And what about the thieves Ty and Lucy witnessed burying something? Will they return?

Monday, August 2, 2021

What's Sweeter Than Pie? The Old Timey Holiday Romance Collection, of course! -New Release by Kimberly Grist

New Release! 
Available to Read for Free on Kindle Unlimited!

Can his mail-order bride handle the diversity that comes with her husband’s dangerous vocation? Together will they blend their opposing desires to create a recipe for love?

Selah Anderson agrees to participate in a matchmaking service organized by her pastor and the orphanage's matron, where she spent most of her life and become a mail-order bride. The man of her dreams will share her love of creating delicious confections and running a successful bakery. People will come for miles to purchase her specialty-shoo-fly pie.

Stagecoach driver Emerson Clark isn’t looking for love. But he knows life is better with a partner by your side- like a good team of horses supporting one another around the ruts in the road and along the narrow paths. As long as she’s practical, he’ll be happy.

Shoo-Fly Pie By Selah


Carrie Town, Texas – September 1891


“Two things I hate: interruptions to my schedule and losing.”

Emerson Clark -- Stagecoach Driver



“Over the years working as a stagecoach driver, you become more akin to the wheels on the stagecoach with each passing day. You’re always on the move. Will you be happy settling down in one place?”

Emerson Clark leaned on the railing of the front porch, removed his pocket watch to check the time, then met the eyes of his best friend, Moses Montgomery. “It’s a good question.”

The sounds of laughter and good-natured jesting flowed back and forth among his friends, the Montgomery family. Although not related by blood, they were the closest thing to relatives he could imagine. It felt good to spend a Sunday afternoon in their company.

The rhythmic click of the chain from the porch swing roused him from his thoughts. Em returned his attention to Moses and his wife Bethany, swaying back and forth with their six-year-old niece who was staring at a picture in her fairy-tale book. His mouth lifted at the sight of the heart-shaped design of the wrought iron swing. Moe’s sister had created the pattern and their father had hammered out the perfect symbol of a family working together and displaying their commitment toward one another.

 “Is that the watch the stagecoach company awarded you, Em?” Michael Montgomery, the patriarch of the family and town blacksmith, asked.

“Yes sir, in appreciation of what you might call a poor attempt at a robbery. It didn’t take but a crack of my whip and a few shots to send those bandits packing.” Emerson unfastened the clasp, removing his gold chain and pendant from his vest, then placed it in the massive hands of the man so instrumental in honing his skills in the trade of blacksmithery.

“Solid gold, too.” Moses whistled. “Been a long time since anyone attempted robbing your stage.”

“Used to be a regular thing, seeing a masked man pointing his gun somewhere along the roadside. But most bandits find trains a more lucrative field these days.” Em shrugged. “Stagecoach travel is becoming less lucrative in a lot of ways.”

“Is that why you're thinking of giving it up?” Moses’ dark eyebrows drew together.

Em straightened and turned his attention toward the laughter coming from the side yard. The sun was bright in the autumn sky and Moses’ mother and sister fanned themselves while meandering along the lawn. The years Moses’ brothers spent working alongside their father in the forge was evident as they easily hammered posts into the ground in preparation for a game of horseshoes. Squeals and laughter from the children playing kick the can sent a feeling of pleasure as welcome as the slight breeze.

There are still remote areas without rail service that need packages and people delivered. Plenty of common folk will still rely on the stage.”

A burst of wind sent a tumbleweed bouncing across the L-shaped porch rolling over his pointy-toed boots. The invasive weed’s appearance was as unwelcome as the memory it brought. Despite the warmth of the autumn day, he shivered. The trembling body of a young boy hiding behind a mound of the troublesome weed vivid, his stomach so empty it ached as he cried out to God for sleep to relieve him from his pain.

Em circled his head around his shoulders and rubbed his chest. “The truth is, I want a place to call home.”

Moses’ eyebrows narrowed. “You often refer to yourself as a tumbleweed and say how much you enjoy driving the stage and traveling places. Don’t you think you would miss the excitement?”

“Maybe, on occasion.” Em rubbed the back of his neck. “But the stage company has offered me a promotion that is causing me to reconsider. The job is mine provided I agree to an additional requirement. They prefer a married man to manage their home station.”

Moses whistled. “Stationmaster would be a perfect fit since you have all the skills of a blacksmith and farrier as well as a driver.”

“If I accept, I will manage the stage stop about an hour’s ride from here. The catch is, the contract runs out in three years or sooner if the railroad merger goes through as planned. In the meantime, I take over running the Home Station, which requires I fill in as driver, as necessary.”

Moses reached for the watch and opened the pendant. “I can see you standing there scowling at the drivers for being a minute late.”

“Not with that watch, I won’t.” Em grimaced. “There are still a lot of nefarious characters traveling by coach. No point in tempting one of them to do something stupid. No sir, this is my Sunday go-to-meeting pendant.”

“What happens when they close the station?”

“That’s the intriguing and most persuasive part. If I accept the position, Wooten’s Lodge and the adjacent farm are mine. Or shall I say the bank is giving me the first right of refusal.”

“Old Man Wooten’s place?”

“Yep, since the railroad came through, the inn has lost most of its business. The land is mortgaged, and the owner is looking to cash in while he still can. There are 120 acres divided into pasture, with about a quarter for planting. In time, it could become a self-sustaining farm even without the income from the boarders.”

“You will make a fine husband and father.” Moses’ father puffed his cigar, sending an alluring stream of small circles wrapped with the rich scent of cinnamon. “Now, it is simply a matter of you finding the right woman to settle down with.”

“Which brings us back to where we started.” His eyes darted to the Gothic Revival-style house with its pointed arches and window shapes. He took in a deep breath, knowing the structure symbolized his desire to recreate the comfort of family for himself. “Men must outnumber women thirty to one in this part of Texas.”

“As well we know, which is why I sent your application to the matrimonial agency run by our childhood friend last year. Mrs. Shelby’s advice is a godsend for this family. Otherwise, we would not have the lovely new daughter-in-law joining us here this afternoon.” Mr. Montgomery motioned with his Sunday cigar. “Your delay in completing the questionnaire is the reason you don’t have a bride of your own.”

Em placed his hand over the weight of the envelope in his vest pocket. “I'm praying this opportunity and this desire to put down roots are God’s prompting to move forward.” 

“Tennessee has the opposite problem from Texas. The lure of land and gold fever send most of the eligible young men in the area west.” Moses’ wife tapped her finger along her cheek. “Several of my friends who grew up in the children’s home adjacent to my grandparents’ farm are participating with the agency. What type of woman do you see yourself married to in the coming years?”

“Be careful how you answer, my friend. If the women are friends of my wife’s, her grandfather probably taught them to be beekeepers and goat herders.”

“What is wrong with that?” Bethany elbowed her husband good-naturedly.

“Ouch!” Moses rubbed his side, then placed a kiss on his wife’s cheek. “Make sure you specify her personality should be docile and not saucy like this one.”

Em chuckled. “Other than the fact she’s a beekeeper and you hate bees; you seem well suited.”

“There is also the little matter of my allergy to alfalfa.” Bethany gave her husband a sideways glance. Em’s mouth opened then closed as he watched his friend’s shoulder shake with mirth. “You raise horses and run the livery stable, and your wife is allergic to hay? You two aren’t making me feel better about this matrimonial agency.”

“Imagine how boring life would be if your wife’s temperament and interests were the same as yours. No, a bit of variety is good.” Mr. Montgomery grinned as he leaned forward. “I’ve heard you often complain about the society misses who travel on your stage. Trust your instincts and remember Rebekah was chosen by God; not for looks, wealth, or skills but because of her kind heart.”

“Yes, a kind woman and not someone only worried about themselves and their appearance. Someone practical and focused.” Em cleared his throat. “I have few memories before I came west on the orphan train. But somewhere in the back of my mind, there was a family farm I called home. Sometimes I can almost hear the clanging of a dinner bell and my mother’s voice telling me to wash up for supper. Her mouth is turned up in a smile while she scans the horizon, searching for my father. I can see an outline of a man making his way towards the house from a field of wheat. There’s an aroma coming from the kitchen hinting at a savory stew, and I’m filled with a feeling of a family who love and support one another.”

He let out a ragged breath. “Maybe it’s only a dream. But I want to experience the feeling again. Not sure what that looks like when it comes to describing the personality of an ideal wife.”

“Loyal, loving, giving, and generous.” Bethany’s blue-gray eyes met his. “Emerson, I'd like to tell you about a special friend of mine.”

“Uh oh, is she a beekeeper or a goatherder?” Em forced a smile.

“No to the goat-herding skills. But Selah certainly knows her way around a beehive, and she can garden and tend to farm animals. The orphanage trained the children to raise their own food and to handle the job from start to finish. She is smart, plays the piano, sings, and is currently working as a baker’s apprentice.”

 “Sounds resourceful, and she must be a good cook. I like to eat.” Em rubbed his stomach. “If your friend agrees to come, I’ll make sure she has plenty of help and can spend time on her music. I’ve worked hard these past years and can afford to support my wife and any children that might come along, and then some.”

“Hold on a minute now. From what you tell me about Selah, she sounds kind of sassy.” Moses winked, “fair warning, friend.”

“Sassy? I believe a better description is tenacious and spontaneous.” Bethany twisted her hands in her lap. “Even though the children’s home was a good one, the slightest tendency to be docile could leave someone wanting at the dinner table.”

Drumming his fingers absently on the Peacemaker resting on his hip, Em nodded. “An orphan has to grow up quick, that’s for sure. A certain amount of grit is necessary for survival.”

“My friend is far more likely to speak up about the needs of others before she would voice a desire of her own.” Bethany stared into the distance. “Her father was a doctor. Both her parents lost their lives tending to the sick during the yellow fever epidemic. My grandmother often says that Selah inherited her intelligence from her father and her loving nature and talent for music from her mother.”

“I knew a gal by the name of Selena once. But I can’t recall hearing the name Selah before. Is it a nickname or short for something?”

“It's a reference mentioned often in the Bible in the book of Psalms. Most of the time, it’s at the end of the verse.” Mr. Montgomery reached for his Bible and flipped through the pages. “Here’s one, Psalms 32:7. ‘Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.’”

Em felt the blood run from his face. “Was there a reason why you turned to that section in particular?”

“It’s one of my favorite verses.” Mr. Montgomery’s eyes crinkled at the corners as he extended the worn Bible and pointed at the underlined scripture. “Perhaps the word ‘Selah’ is adding value to the verse, like a good Hallelujah or Amen.”

Moses’ dark eyes twinkled. “Remember that girl we went to school with named Hallie? I wonder if her name was short for Hallelujah?”

“Hallie Simmons.” Em shuddered. “If she wasn’t the epitome of ‘don't judge a book by its cover,’ I don’t know what is. Pretty on the outside, she smiles and coos, intent on getting her own way no matter the cost. Let’s hope your friend is nothing like her.”

The slamming of the screen door interrupted the conversation, and Moses’ youngest brother, Malachi, appeared carrying plates filled with cookies. “Don’t go agreeing to nothing before you see a picture, Em. My brothers have both been fortunate to marry women who are as sweet as they are pretty. The odds are the next mail-order bride is bound to be as ugly as a mud fence and probably cranky to boot.”

About Kimberly Grist:

Kim has enjoyed writing since she was a young girl. However, she began writing her first novel in 2017, "
Despite my best efforts, sometimes life just stinks. Bad things happen. I need and want an outlet, an opportunity to relax and escape to a place where obstacles are met and overcome." 
Fans of historical romance set in the late 19th -century will enjoy stories combining, History, Humor, and Romance, emphasizing Faith, Friends, and Good, Clean Fun. 

Connect with Kimberly:

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/kimberly-grist
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/FaithFunandFriends/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/GristKimberly
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Kimberly-Grist/e/B07H2NTJ71

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Creating a Family Legacy for a story

For my recent release, Lightkeeper’s Challenge, I wanted to create a family who had a legacy of being lighthouse keepers. Since the story was set in 1880, looking to Europe for the characters’ ancestors was the logical solution. During the 1800s, America bloomed in size because of the relocation of immigrants seeking a better life.

Part of the fun of writing a new novella is populating it with people who have rich heritages. Research tells us that people who emigrated held tight to their country’s traditions. Besides doing things the way they already knew, heeding tradition kept them connected to those left behind, as well as offering the potential for banding together in their new home.

I chose Denmark as the country of origin for my heroine Lisbet’s family—the Dinesens—partly because of the country’s early history with lighthouses. Lisbet strives to become the fourth generation of lightkeepers. I established her great-grandfather as serving as a lighthouse keeper to the Skagen White Lighthouse at the northern tip of Denmark. This is where Lisbet’s father grew up and learned the trade.

Once the ancestry is selected, then I look for details about the country’s culture to include. If I want the character to be musically inclined, I research native instruments. If the character likes to do handcrafts, I check if the culture invented something contemporary readers would know. I especially have fun with researching details about food and wedding customs.

All of the above are included in Lightkeeper’s Challenge, book 12 in the Keepers of the Light series.

Raised in a Pacific Coast lighthouse, Lisbet Dinesen hopes to follow family tradition and succeed her father as senior lightkeeper. Assistant lightkeeper Hale Warwyck feels he’s paid his dues by working the night shift for five years and deserves command of his own lighthouse.

Principal Lightkeeper Anders Dinesen announces the need for a substitute during his vacation time. Both Lisbet and Hale want to step in. A challenge is established to test their suitability and skills. Has Anders taken on the role of matchmaker for his eldest child? Will the competition drive a wedge into Lisbet’s and Hale’s budding attraction? 

Amazon buy link

Let me know if you like such cultural details in the historical stories you read.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021


The burble of Mossy creek reassured Ty. They were close to the dugout. He remembered it being close to the creek when he visited with his father.
Crazy Jed Wiley’s passing more than a year before left his odd home empty. As the name of the house implied, it was dug into the side of the hill. As it was no more than a hole in the ground, it might conceal them. Most folks could walk by it and never know a door lay concealed by brush.

In my next new release, Lemon Pie by Lucinda, I send my hero and heroine running through the woods from kidnappers. An abandonded dug out provides the hiding place they need. But, why would anyone make a home in the ground?

Fifteen dollars! A man could have 160 acres by merely paying a $10 filing fee on his claim. Then, after five years, he could pay another $5 fee and own the land. The catch? 

The government required the settler to create a home and dig a well. For many who headed to the West, the trip took most of the money. People settling on the Great Plains had few trees to use in building the required house.

The answer was to live in the ground. These homes were known as pit houses or dug outs. Even Laura Ingalls spent part of her childhood in a dug out when the family lived in Minnesota.

A dug out consisted of one small room, usually. Some of these homes had walls made of sod bricks. Very few people had a floor made by laying down boards on the floor.

The pit house was a stop-gap means to provide a quick, temporary home. Good crops, often wheat, brought money to the bank for these pioneers. A clapboard house was a goal so they dug out could either be abandoned or used as a root cellar.

Two ladies named Lucinda...
Lucy never uses her real name and is surprised when Rev. Caldwell calls her that at the pie auction. She's even more surprised when Ty Goodson bids on her pie. He's never shown her a bit of interest, and whoever wins her pie will share a lunch with her.

What follows is a series of misadventures and a night spent in a cave. That night alone with each other leads them into a forced marriage—a shotgun marriage with Ty’s father holding the gun.

How will Lucy win the love of a man who longs for a different Lucinda? And what about the thieves Ty and Lucy witnessed burying something? Will they return?
Pre-order today on Amazon!

Monday, July 26, 2021




By Annee Jones

          You may recall that the article I wrote for this blog last month was all about the fascinating (and quite strange!) history of wedding cakes.  You may wonder why I’m interested in researching this information.  If you look back on the subjects I’ve presented in this blog, most of them contain clues about books I’m writing or planning to write!  Hence, last month I was giving you a “hint.”  Now the cat is out of the bag, and most of you know I am writing for the new Old Timey Holiday Kitchen series sponsored by Sweet Americana Sweethearts.  My first book for this collection releases next month and is titled Charm Cake by Charity.  So let’s talk about the history of cake charms!

          Wedding cakes themselves date back as early as ancient Roman times, when a cake was broken over the bride’s head as a symbol of good fortune.  In 17th century England the tradition developed of sewing charms onto the skirt of the bride's wedding dress.  These charms would later be pulled off by her bridesmaids and kept as tokens of luck and friendship.  Over the course of the next several decades, the trinkets were transferred from the dress to the cakes, creating the Victorian tradition of baking a ring into a “bride’s pie” to be served to the woman’s unmarried friends.  The woman whose slice contained the ring was said to be the next to marry.

          Today, the charms are usually attached to a ribbon and the cake decorator places them under the cake or between the bottom layers before the final decoration is finished up.  It is common for one charm to be included for each member of the wedding party.   Called a “cake pull,” the chosen members stand around the cake and all pull their charm out at the same time.

    If you would like to insert charms into one of your cakes, here are some suggestions:

- Only use sterling silver or food-safe pewter (avoid things like metal alloy that you have no idea what is in it as it may post a health risk);

- Make sure ribbons are securely attached to the charms;

- Provide a guide for guests to know what their charms mean;

- A nice option is to offer your guests a way to wear their charm right away so it doesn't get lost.  Ideas include bracelets, necklaces, keychains, or wine glass charm clips.

    With regard to what the various symbols mean, there is a lot of debate.  Modern charm vendors tend to make them up.  Some of the more traditional meanings include: 

Coin:                        Prosperity

Ring:                        You will find your true love or be the next to marry

Wishbone:               Your wish will come true

Boot:                        You will travel

Bell:                          Betrothal

Baby Booties/ Footprints:  A child soon

Anchor:                   Love that is true and steady

Key:                         You will have a secure life

Four Leaf Clover:  Good luck will find you soon

Bird:                        A new opportunity will soon present itself

Boat:                        An adventure awaits you

Music Note:            Harmony

Fleur-de-lis:            New beginnings


          You’ll have to read Charm Cake by Charity to find out which charms the characters receive and how their meanings feature into the story! 


About Me:

 Annee Jones is an inspirational romance novelist who enjoys sharing her heart and imagination with others.  She is passionate about writing stories that offer hope and encouragement and likes to think of her books as “romance filled with faith and a sprinkle of fairy dust!”

Annee is also a professional book reviewer for Publishers Weekly in the genre of faith-based fiction (fun tidbit: she writes many of the editorial reviews you see on Amazon).

Professionally, Annee works as a disability counselor where she helps her clients navigate through complex medical and legal systems while rediscovering their wholeness in Spirit.

Connect with Annee here:





Available Now for Pre-Order:










Thursday, July 22, 2021

What's For Dessert? - Old West Cuisine in the 1800s by Jo-Ann Roberts


In my new release, Grace-Brides of New Hope, Grace Donegan is the town baker who creates delectable dried cherry tarts, pies, cakes. and cookies for the cafe and the Prairie Queen Hotel in New Hope, Kansas.

While doing research, I read dozens of articles about pioneer women who had to decide what few precious things to carry across the plains. One choice they all had in common was their collection of "receipts", as recipes were then called. For them, these were reminders of a security left behind and a hope for the abundance of the future. In the interim, they simply did what they had to do to keep their families alive.

For the most part, meals were informal and the food hearty. Nothing was wasted. Dried bread was made into bread pudding; a bone was turned into soup and extra milk was made into pudding or cheese.

Early trappers, explorers, miners, and homesteaders all had to be creative when it came to cooking on the frontier. Substitutions of all kinds were made so that the food would not only taste good but that it would taste familiar. It was certainly worth the effort since we're still using some of these recipes even today.

Here are a few examples of dishes these resourceful, hardy people created with limited or unusual ingredients.

Sourdough Starter

Sourdough biscuits were a-little-bit-of-heaven-on-earth delicacy whether on the trail, on a homestead, or in a prairie town cafe. Once a cook got a good sourdough starter he or she cherished it like a prized possession. 

The starter was made by cutting up 2 medium-sized potatoes into cubes and boiling them in water until tender. The cook would remove the potatoes and measure out two cups of the liquid. (The potatoes would be used for the evening meal). The cook would then mix the potato water, flour, and sugar into a smooth paste and set the mixture in a warm place until it doubled in size.

Vinegar Pie

This custard-like pie would have been made when there was no fresh fruit or dairy to be had. Settlers had to make do with ingredients that didn't spoil.

The acidity in the vinegar actually gives the pie a flavor that is reminiscent of lemon. This dessert is one variety of pie Grace Donegan makes to sell at the cafe for Thanksgiving. It doesn't taste like vinegar at all. It's sweet and tasty and brings to mind citrus more than vinegar. Plus, like a chess pie, it gets a little bit of a crust on top when baked.
Sheep Sorrel Pie

Since citrus fruit was hard to come by on the prairie and lemon pie was an extremely popular dessert, sheep sorrel leaves had a lemony, tang/tart flavor making it a perfect substitution. The pioneers used the herb to flavor their pies and is supposedly very close in taste to lemon pie. But homesteaders state that it does take a fair bit of sheep sorrel to get the flavor.


Like corn pancakes, Johnnycakes or hoecakes were a staple for anyone who needed to fill some bellies but had no wheat flour. Corn, being a new world food, made its way in all kinds of dishes. Topped with maple syrup or molasses, this makes a fine meal for breakfast, dinner, or supper.


Missing the traditional puddings from England but lacking the ingredients to make them, settlers created cobblers. A simple dish that combined fruit and bread or biscuit dough, cobblers have since become an American staple.  This dessert would have been cooked over a fire in a cast-iron Dutch oven and lard would have been used in place of butter.

Juneberry Pie (a.k.a. "Saskatoon berry")

Native to North America, particularly the upper Midwest, North and South Dakota, and the northern prairie region of Canada, juneberries had a flavor reminiscent of dark cherries or raisins, and a milder taste than blueberries. The ripe juneberry fruit is dark purple, with several tiny soft seeds, and very closely resembles a highbush blueberry.


When the Europeans arrived in the United States, they brought their cookie recipes with them. Soon, they adapted the old recipes to fit their new country. American butter cookies are a close relative to the English tea cake and the Scottish shortbread.

In the Southern colonies, every housewife knew how to bake tea cakes that had no extra flavoring except butter and sometimes a couple of drops of rose water.

The first American cookies that showed up in a cookbook had creative names like Jumbles, Plunkets, and Cry Babies which gave no clue as to what was inside that cookie. As the expansion of the country grew, new ingredients started showing up in cookie recipes. The arrival of the railroad meant fruits and nuts like coconuts and oranges became available to homesteaders. Even cereal became a popular ingredient in cookie recipes after the Kellogg brothers invented cornflakes in the late 1800s.

In the Brides of New Hope series, cookies are a favorite treat for Eli MacKenzie, Grayson Barrett, and Tripp Walker.

As a native New Englander, Eli enjoyed Joe Froggers, a molasses cookie, while Grayson was partial to sugar biscuits, a treat his English-born mother often baked, and Tripp was fond of lebkuchen, a spice cookie reminding him of his German roots back home in New Braunfels, Texas.

Joe Froggers
Sugar Biscuits

From the treats we still make to this day to the obscure recipes that have fallen by the wayside, the ingenuity of the pioneers to make tasty food is nothing less than astounding. With so many foods unavailable, it is no wonder that a good cook was so often longer for on the trail or in a small prairie town.

 Lessie Brides of New Hope Book One

Posey Brides of New Hope Book Two

Grace Brides of New Hope Book Three