I'm relieved to learn that I'm not a burden upon community.
I thought that almost every woman knew how to make bread in 1821. But when I started to think about it, I realized that people who could afford servants, probably didn't know how to bake. The queen – was she a mere burden upon the community? (Guess some people would say yes). Interesting thought.
But most girls were brought up like little Ruth, in the story below, to become good wives and mothers.
"Company coming to-morrow and not a crumb of cake in the house!" said Mrs. Brown one morning. "Jane's gone and there's all the sweeping to do, the baby to take care of, and three meals a day to get!"
"Mother, mother dear," called Ruth from the next room, "do let me make the cake. I should like nothing better. It would be great fun."
"Great fun! Now that is what one says who knows nothing about it. It would be better to go without any cake at all than to place before our friends some that they cannot eat," replied the tired mother.
"When I was at Aunt Fanny's," said Ruth, "she taught me how to make a kind of cake that we all liked. Uncle John said he could eat all I could make. Do let me try, mother dear."
"Oh, Ruth, what a tease you are. Well, it will keep you quiet for a while and I suppose you must learn somehow."
Then Ruth ran into the kitchen in high glee. First she looked at the fire in the stove as Aunt Fanny had taught her to do. More coal was needed. So she had to go down cellar and bring up as much as she could in the hod. She opened the draughts and put on a little coal at first. When that had kindled she put on a little more. She took a whisk and swept out the stove oven. Then she put more water into the kettle on on top of the stove. Soon it was time to close the draughts. She put her hand into the oven to feel how hot it was just as she had seen her Aunt Fanny do.
When the stove was as she wanted it, Ruth ran out to the barn and found four warm eggs in nests among the hay. These she brought into the house, and breaking them into a bowl, began to beat them up quickly. Next she took a yellow dish from the dresser and put into it one cup of butter and two cups of sugar. For a long time she mixed these two together until they were "all one," as she called it.
Next she put the four beaten eggs into the bowl with the butter and sugar, and beat them until her little hands ached. Then she measured out three cups of flour and sifted it into another dish. With this she put two teaspoonfuls of baking powder, and then sifted flour and baking powder together. After this was done, she added a little of it at a time to the mixture of butter and eggs, beating away until all the flour had been used up. Then she put into it a teaspoonful of vanilla essence and added enough milk to make a thick batter. Little pans shaped like hearts and rounds, and one large round pan were then well greased, and the beaten up cake put into each pan until it was half full. Then the pans of cake were set into the oven and in ten or fifteen minutes all the tiny "hearts and rounds" were baked a light brown, while the large pan had to stay baking ten or fifteen minutes more.
A very happy child was young Ruth when she took out her pans of cake.
Her father, mother, brothers and the "company" who arrived the next day thought it the "nicest cake ever made by so young a little girl."
From "Pages for Laughing Eyes", author unknown.