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Suffragette Doughnuts

Updated: Jul 3, 2021

It's been a while since we have baked something new from our historical recipe collection.

Last year, we baked several recipes from The Woman Suffrage Cook Book (1886) in honor of the Women's Suffrage Centennial in 2020. Independence Day seems a fine day to pull that cookbook out again and reflect on all the freedoms we enjoy as Americans, all the hard workers that have gotten us here and all the great advancements in equality the future has in store for us.

Interestingly, we discovered that Marysville, despite being a relatively small town, was home to some pretty forward-thinking folks in the 19th century. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony both spoke in Marysville and were reportedly quite well received. After the passing of the 19th Amendment in 1920, many Union County women were quick to cast their votes and participate legally in their first-ever election. Read more here.

While these suffragette recipes do not necessarily come from Union County women, they can still provide us with some interesting glimpses into the "typical" life of an American woman around the turn of the century. Like many women, including the suffragettes responsible for The Women Suffrage Cook Book, the women of Union County published collections of their tried and true recipes, home remedies and helpful household tips to be sold to raise funds for any number of causes. Several of these books can be found in the kitchen exhibit at the Union County Historical Society Museum (see info below.)

This week, we chose to combine several different doughnut recipes from the Cook Book. Ohio Department of Agriculture regulations prevent us from deep frying our doughnuts in hot lard (drat!), so we opted for a baked cake donut instead. We increased the leavening agents, adding baking powder, to compensate for the change in cooking method. Many older recipes used cream of tartar for leavening - the tartaric acid reacts with baking soda to create air bubbles; modern baking powder includes monocalcium phosphate, another acid, and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda.) We chose to keep some cream of tartar in the recipe for authenticity, but baking powder could easily be substituted. The Women Suffrage Cook Book came out around the time we started seeing a big shift from cream of tartar to baking powder in recipes, baking powder being invented somewhat1856. (Keep in mind, many women contributed older "tried & true" recipes from family and friends for these compilation cookbooks.)

Below, you will find several of the original doughnut recipes from The Women Suffrage Cook Book, as well as our modified/modernized version of "Suffragette Doughnuts.".

Here's our recipe:

3/4 cup butter, melted

1 1/2 cups milk

3 eggs

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

3/8 teaspoon baking soda

4 cups flour

cinnamon-sugar for coating

Whisk together these ingredients in a medium bowl: butter, eggs, sugar, vanilla. In a separate bowl, stir together dry ingredients: flour, nutmeg, salt, cream of tartar, baking powder, baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture in thirds, alternating with the milk and stirring well after each addition. Use a piping bag to fill four well-greased donut pans. Each cavity should be about 3/4 full. Bake 10 minutes at 425 degrees. Cool 5 minutes in the pan. Place cinnamon-sugar in a large baggie. Add a few warm donuts at a time, shaking to coat. Cool on a wire rack or eat warm.

These Suffragette Doughnuts will be for sale at the Union County Farmers Market and our farm market shed on Saturday, July 3, 2021. All proceeds benefit the Union County Historical Society.

If you read the original doughnut recipes carefully, you may have seen the "Dover egg beater" mentioned. That is this style of beater.

GREAT NEWS! The Union County Historical Society Museum is finally reopening after July 4! Stop in to check out all of the fascinating artifacts, including my favorite exhibit - the 19th century kitchen. Say "hi" to my little friends the lard elves while you are there!

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