A Revolutionary Confection Inspired by Amelia Simmons, Whose True History is Unfortunately Unknown
by Deborah Hopkinson
illustrated by Giselle Potter
Independence Cake introduced me to a historical figure that I had never heard of Amelia Simmons. She is the author of the very first cookbook in America called American Cookery. I love a good cookbook and just think she is what has inspired many to publish their own cookbook. She was revolutionary in 1796 to have a cookbook when to be honest I bet this was pretty unheard of. Deborah Hopkinson created a fictionalized account of Amelia Simmons life since very very little is known about her. Amelia’s cookbook was very popular and reprinted for 30 years after the first printing. This picture book would be a neat one to read to a budding chef to inspire them to maybe create their very own cookbook. I enjoyed reading her fictionalized biography of sorts and was happy to learn about an unknown historical figure.
summary: Master of the historical fiction picture book Deborah Hopkinson takes us back to late eighteenth-century America and the discombobulated home of Mrs. Bean, mother of six strapping sons, who simply can’t manage—until Amelia Simmons arrives and puts things in order. And how well she cooks—everything from flapjacks to bread pudding to pickled cucumbers! She even invents new recipes using American ingredients like winter squash. Best of all, she can bake, and to honor the brand-new president, George Washington, she presents him with thirteen Independence Cakes—one for each colony. “Delicious!” he proclaims. Author’s Note and original recipe included!
Thank you Deborah Hopkinson and Giselle Potter for sending me a copy of Independence Cake. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.