Our Doughnut Legacy...

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My husband and I have been married 36 years and as you would suspect we have lots in common; kids, faith, reading, love for the outdoors and Homer Price . Yep, we have Homer Price in common. It was one of my husband's favorite books as a boy and one I enjoyed when I was younger too. When my kids were younger I read them Homer Price stories and our favorite was called, simply, The Doughnuts. Sonlight includes it in Core B because it is classic children's literature.

In The Doughnuts, they make---what else? Doughnuts. And, when I was reading this story to my children I noticed that the characters mentioned a few of the doughnut ingredients ...baking powder, flour, eggs and nutmeg...and a light went off. I had a doughnut recipe with those same ingredients!

Actually it is an "old family receipt"--just like in the story. My husband's great-grandfather owned a bakery in Detroit around 1900. His "fried cake" recipe was handed down generation by generation and eventually it was handed to me. It called for baking powder, flour, eggs and nutmeg--along with some other ingredients. My recipe was the same recipe as the one in the story! Or at least close to it.

After reading the story the kids and I made the fried cakes by hand and that really  made us appreciate how wonderful the doughnut machine was. Then, another day, we went to a bakery and watched how a modern doughnut machine works and it was pretty much the same as the one illustrated  in the book which was first published more than 60 years ago.  We talked about the industrial revolution and how much faster the machine worked at making doughnuts that we did, and how uniform they were.

This old family receipt is included in the Sonlight Cooks cookbook on page 97.

And speaking of Sonlight Cooks, we loved many of the recipes found there. We made Genuine US Army Hardtack when we studied American History and though we all thought it was gross, we ate every bit in a couple of days. We made the Sweet Potatoes and Apples while we studied Westward Expansion, Ganja Buchim [Potato Pancakes] while studying Korea and Russian Tea while studying Russia. All these recipes are in Sonlight Cooks and are organized by country or historical era. These tried and true recipes make it easy to add some flavor to any study without having to do a lot of research. And, I know with my children, when they actually taste what characters in a book eat, the book becomes real.

Because I think that food and family go together like biscuits and jam I would love to hear any of your food related family traditions.  I would also love to try your family recipes and hear the stories behind them.

For those of you who love doughnuts, here is  our  over 100 year old family Fried Cake Recipe, also found in Sonlight Cooks. 

Merry Christmas from our family to yours,


Fried Cakes

2 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 egg

1/8 cup [2 Tablespoons] vegetable oil

1/2 cup sour milk [If you don't have any, you can make your own by combining 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice with enough milk to make 1/2 cup and let it set for at least 5 minutes before using.]

1 teaspoon lemon extract [optional--I don't use it]


Heat oil in a fryer to 400 degrees. The oil should be a couple of inches deep.

Make 1/2 cup of sour milk if you don't have any, see directions above. Sift together the first six dry ingredients and place in a 2 qt bowl; mix in wet ingredients [egg, oil, milk and extract if using] with fork. Put some flour on the counter  and roll out the dough about 1/4 of an inch thick or a bit thicker. If it is sticky, add a bit more flour so you can roll it easily.

Cut into doughnuts [If you don't have a doughnut cutter, just cut out circles with the top of a jar or glass, then cut a smaller circle inside with a lid from a smaller bottle, like a salad dressing bottle.] Fry  the doughnuts and the holes at 400 degrees F, a few at a time, until brown, turning over when first side is brown.

When both sides are brown, remove from oil and lay on paper towels to drain. You may want to put some sugar or cinnamon sugar in a paper bag and shake the hot doughnuts, one a time, in the bag to coat them. Serve hot with cold milk or apple cider.  Yield: 1 dozen. [I always double this recipe.]

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