New & NowBread

Walden; or Raisin Bread in the Woods

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In Strange Food History, we're hitting the books -- to find you the strangest, quirkiest slices of our food heritage.

Today: A loaf of bread that's transcendental.  

Raisin Bread

Thoreau went into the the woods because he wished to live deliberately, but when he came out he may have brought one of our favorite types of bread with him. 

According to Thoreau scholar Walter Harding, who pulled the information from a 1943 Ladies' Home Journal article: "Thoreau experimented frequently with his bread making and soon learned that an unleavened variety was simplest. When he added raisins to the dough, it was said that he became the inventor of raisin bread. Concord housewives were reportedly shocked at the innovations."

Some historians have since renounced this claim after unearthing recipes that mention dried grapes in bread as early as the 1700s. No matter where it came from, we're sure that living alone at Walden Pond gave him plenty of time to perfect his cooking (even if he was lacking in kitchen space). 

Tags: Food History