Sunday, March 26, 2023

Maria Massey Barringer - Dixie Cookery, 1867

Maria Amanda Massey Barringer (1827-1901) was born in Philadelphia to Quaker parents who moved to North Carolina. Her husband fought for the South, President Jefferson Davis stayed at their Concord NC home on April 18, 1865 while evading Gen. Grant's troops. President Grant granted her husband an international position in 1874, so they spent 20 years in Egypt.

The third in my series of American women cookbook authors ... some unexpected aspects of their lives.

Her parents Adeline McKesson and George Valentine Massey (died 1833, age 32) moved to NC. Maria was educated at Dickson School for girls in Asheville, NC. At 24, in 1852, she married Victor Clay Barringer (1827-1896), and they had no children. He was a lawyer who at that time was private secretary to his brother Daniel, the U.S. minister to Spain (1849-54), so she probably lived in Spain with him a couple years. After the Civil War, when he was a Major in the NC Calvary, her husband served two ten year terms as American Judge on the International Court at Alexandria, Egypt (appointed by President Grant). So this author of Dixie Cookery, 1866, lived from 1874-94 in Egypt. After returning, they lived in Washington, DC. Her papers are at UVA.

Southern – corn meal, rice bread, and the southern “method of preparing Meats is more like that employed in French cookery.” Other dishes — Quaker pudding, numerous squirrel recipes, Confederate Cake, Clay Cake. Possibly the first recipe for Ambrosia.

Dixie Cookery; or, How I managed my table for twelve years. A practical cook-book for Southern housekeepers. Mrs. Barringer. Boston: Loring, 1867. 121p.

Grate the white part of the cocoanut, sweeten with a little sugar, and place in a glass bowl, in alternate layers with pulped oranges, having a layer of cocoanut on top. Serve in ice-cream plates or saucers.

North Carolina Jumbles.
One pound of flour, the same of sugar, and an equal quantity of butter. Mix these ingredients with three well-beaten eggs, a wineglassful of rose-water, and some essence of lemon. Roll into thin sheets, and cut in rings, and dip in loaf-sugar before baking.

Blockade Coffee.
Scald some rye in boiling water, and let it simmer for twenty minutes until it is slightly soft. Then remove from the fire and wash it in cold water, and parch as brown as coffee. To three tablespoonfuls of the ground rye take one tablespoonful of coffee, or a saltspoonful of the essence of coffee, and put into a tin pot, and pour over a quart of boiling water, and let it boil slowly for more than an hour. Let it settle and pour off, and you will find it quite clear without eggs, and very good.

Some sources
The Churchman obit. Dec 7, 1901. UPenn scan
Dictionary of North Carolina Biography. Victor
Maria Barrington diary 1861-1864, letters 1870-1901, University of Virginia. Manuscript MSS 2588-f.



©2023 Patricia Bixler Reber
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