A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from January 11, 2011
Anadama Bread

Entry in progress—B.P.

Wikipedia: Anadama bread
Anadama bread is a traditional bread of New England made with white flour, cornmeal, molasses and sometimes rye flour.

Origin of name
There are several popular myths about the origin of the name, which mostly take this form:

“A fisherman, angry with his wife, Anna, for serving him nothing but cornmeal and molasses, one day adds flour and yeast to his porridge and eats the resultant bread, while cursing, “Anna, damn her.” The neighbors baked it because it was so delicious and coined it Anadama or Anadamy.

Origin in Rockport, Massachusetts
It is also not readily agreed exactly when or where the bread originated, except that it exists before 1850 in Rockport, MA. It is thought it came from the local fishing community but it may have come through the Finnish Community of local stonecutters. During the turn of the century around 1900 it was baked by a man named Baker Knowlton on King Street in Rockport, MA and delivered in a horse-drawn cart to households in Rockport by men in blue smocks. In the 1940s a Rockport restaurant owned by Bill and Melissa Smith called The Blacksmith Shop on Mt. Pleasant St. started baking the bread for their restaurant in a small bakery on Main St. They baked about 80 loaves a day until 1956 when they built a modern $250,000 bakery on Pooles Lane. They had 70 employees and 40 trucks which delivered Anadama Bread all over New England.

The Anadama bread center of consumption was in Rockport and Gloucester, Massachusetts. Commercially available from local bakeries widely on Cape Ann in the early throughout the 1900s until 1970, when the Anadama Bread Bakery on Pooles Lane in Rockport, MA closed due to Bill Smith’s death. For a number of years, it was baked by small local bakeries at breakfast places on Cape Ann.

wiseGEEK
What is Anadama Bread?
Anadama bread is a chewy, sweet, dense, grainy New England treat. The exact origins of the bread are unclear, although the recipe appears to have been developed prior to the 1940s. Along the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, many bakeries make Anadama bread which can be eaten fresh and warm or saved to toast and eat later. It makes an excellent base for French toast, and complements a variety of foods as well.

25 March 1909, Boston (MA) Daily Globe, pg. 12:
AMADAMA BREAD.

8 April 1917, Boston (MA) Sunday Globe, pg. 50, col. 5:
AMADAMA BREAD
Scald 1/2 cu[ of fine Indian meal by turning over it slowly a pint of boiling water, stir all the time. Now add one breadspoon of lard or butter, 1/2 cup of molasses and a dessertspoon of salt. Let this stand until lukewarm. Dissolve 1/2 a cake (or whole) of compound yeast in 1/2 a cup of warm water. Put into the above mixture, add enough flour, about a quart, to make a stiff dough. Knead well, set to rise in a warm place. Knead again, adding flour if necessary; let rise again and mold into loaves. When quite light bake in a good quick oven till well browned. Mystic River.

More Recipes for Fifty
By Frances Lowe Smith
Boston, MA
1918
Pg. 17:
Yami-Dami Bread
1 quart boiling water
1 cup rye meal
2 cups corn meal
1/4 cup shortening
1 cup molasses
2 tablespoons salt
1 yeast cake in 1/2 cup cold water
1 1/2 quarts bread flour
1 quart rye or barley flour
Mix corn and rye meal, add boiling water, stir until smooth. Add salt, fat, and molasses; cool. Add dissolved yeast and bread flour. Beat well, and add rye or barley flour to knead as soft as can be handled.  Let rise over night; shape, let rise until double in bulk, and bake an hour or more in moderate oven. Makes three large loaves.

14 February 1922, Los Angeles (CA) Times, Housekeeping by Laura A. Kirkman, pg. II8:
I wonder if all my column readers know about that old-fashioned kind of bread called “Amadama bread.” After inquiring among my neighbors, I have discovered that very few had ever heard of it before--so I believe that there are many of my reader-friends who are not familiar with it, either.

Amadama bread was first originated in Gloucester, Mass., by a Mrs. John S. Johnston, who had a “bake house: there in our forefathers’ time. Mrs. Johnston gave the recipe to the ladies of the First Baptist Church in Gloucester, who published it in their “Reliable Cook Book,” which they brought out for the church. The first of the two recipes given below, is from the pages of the “Reliable Cook Book,” and the other recipe was contributed to this column by a fine Gloucester housewife who took it from her own personal recipes and who makes the bread herself very successfully by it.

“Johnson’s Brick Loaf, or Amadama Bread—Half a pint of Indian meal scalded with one and a half pints of water. When cool, add one cup of molasses, one cup of yeast (or one yeast cake—which is equivalent.) one tablespoonful of butter, salt, one teaspoonful of soda in the yeast and flour enough to make a stiff batter. Rise overnight.” (In the morning knead again, let rise in the pans, and bake as any bread,)

“Amadama Bread--One pint of boiling water poured slowly over one-half cup of Indian meal, stirring all the time. When cool, add one bread spoon of lard, one-half cup of molasses, one dessert spoon of salt, one-half yeast cake dissolved in one-half cup of luke-warm water, and flour to make a stiff batter. Knead well and rise in again, let rise in the pans till almost double in bulk, and bake.”

The name “Amadama” is a curious one. It is almost impossible to find anyone who can explain its origin convincingly. Perhaps the most feasible story regarding it is the following:

When Mrs. Johnston first introduced the bread called it “Epidemic Bread,” which name was mispronounced by an ignorant maid in one customer’s home, who called it “amadama” housewives clamored for it and it became most popular.  For this reason Mr. Johnston called it “Epidemic Bread,” which name was mispronounced by an ignorant maid in one customer’s home, who called it “amadama” bread (instead of “epidemic.") From that time on many customers, who heard of the maid’s mispronunciation, called it “madama” in fun—which name became a fixture.

I believe that the old-time dishes our forebears cooked and baked, should never be allowed to die. If people of yesterday found them delicious, people of today would enjoy them just as much.

Of course, in regard to cakes and other sweets, we are often unable to use great-grandmother’s recipes because of the unlimited number of eggs called for. In “the good old days” butter, eggs and cream were not as expensive as they are today.

The above printed recipes for Amadama bread, however, happen to be even more economical than our own bread recipes, for some corn meal is used in them, thus saving a little flour--which is more expensive than the corn meal.

(Trademark)
Word Mark ANADAMA
Goods and Services (CANCELLED) IC 030. US 046. G & S: BAKERY PRODUCTS-NAMELY, BREAD AND PARTICULARLY WHITE AND CORNMEAL AND MOLASSES BREADS. FIRST USE: 18500000. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 18760701
Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
Serial Number 73087934
Filing Date May 21, 1976
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Registration Number 1056211
Registration Date January 11, 1977
Owner (REGISTRANT) Anadama Mixes, Inc. UNKNOWN Weston MASSACHUSETTS
(LAST LISTED OWNER) ANADAMA MIXES, INC. CORPORATION MASSACHUSETTS 11 COLONIAL WAY WESTON, MASS. 02193 BOSTON MASSACHUSETTS 02193
Assignment Recorded ASSIGNMENT RECORDED
Type of Mark TRADEMARK
Register PRINCIPAL
Live/Dead Indicator DEAD
Cancellation Date June 7, 1983

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Tuesday, January 11, 2011 • Permalink