Niagara Gazette — These cakes were originally known as “muster cakes,” prepared and packed for farmers when they left the fields to travel into town for military training, or “mustering.” I often wondered why Tuesdays for voting day?
For a society in which most people lived on farms, as in Niagara and Erie counties, November was a good month to vote, I was advised.
The harvest was in, and snow hadn’t yet closed the roads. Officials thought Sunday wouldn’t work because many people were in church, Monday wouldn’t work because most polling places were in county seats and folks from outlying areas could not always get there in time.
Tuesday was the earliest day everyone could make it into town. So Tuesday it was! Congress similarly standarized Congressional elections in 1872.
Women, who did not win the right to vote until Aug. 26, 1920, with the passage of the 19th Amendment, stayed on the farm.
When I cast my vote at the First Presbyterian Church, in the village of Lewiston, on Nov. 6, the ladies of the church were graciously selling their annual bounty of baked goods, jams, jellies, chutney and hand-crafted holiday gift items.
Betty Murphy and several other ladies not only sold the lovely afternoon tea cakes and other beautifully packaged goods, even after the polls closed, but reminded me of an earlier time, when women voted and when the coming holidays greeted us with the restorative power of hope for a joyful Christmas.
1 medium-size potato
1 cup milk
1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar
2 tablespoons of shortening
1/2 package of active dry yeast
4 1/2 to 5 cups sifted all-purpose flour, 1 cup separated out for the second half of instructions
1 teaspoon butter, melted
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar, firmly-packed
1/2 cup sherry
1 cup seedless raisins, chopped (I added some dried cranberries)