Tuesday, February 16, 2016

President Monroe's Waverly Jumbles ... or not

A few books and blogs have included President Monroe's favorite cookie - Waverly Jumbles.  Trouble is... the recipe first appeared 40 years after he died. 

Waverly Jumbles were named after Gov. George Howard's home "Waverly" near Ellicott City, Maryland.  His sister-in-law Jane Gilmor Howard included the recipe in her Fifty Years in a Maryland Kitchen 1873 cookbook.  More about that history HERE

The Waverly Jumbles recipe was in the Monroe Family Recipes booklet from the FAMILY manuscript, printed in 1999, and no doubt his descendants enjoyed the rosewater cookies, but don't call them “President Monroe’s Waverly Jumbles – Authentic Recipe!” or “much favoured by… Monroe” or "the Monroes often served Waverly Jumbles" and inexplicably "President Monroe's Waverly Jumbles (Baked Doughnuts)."  They are cookies, not donuts.

But the craziest comes from the Presidents' Cookbook by Poppy Cannon.  "This variation on Jumbles was given to Martha Washington by James Monroe's wife Elizabeth."  Really?!?

Two Maryland cookbooks first contained the recipe: Tyson's Queen of the Kitchen, 1872 and Howard's Fifty Years in a Maryland Kitchen, 1873.  Tyson's recipe for the rosewater flavored cutout cookie (I know the photo is of rolled ropes of dough, but it is a jumble) -

Waverly Jumbles
1 pound of flour, ½ pound of butter, ¾ pound of brown sugar, 2 eggs, ½ of a nutmeg, 2 table-spoons of rose water, or any kind of seasoning.

Cream together the butter and sugar; add the beaten eggs, and then the flour; roll them out thin and cut with a shape.

©2016 Patricia Bixler Reber
Researching Food History HOME

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