Though it's only March here in South Carolina and some flowers and trees are already in bloom, the photo above was taken in early July back in 2014 on Prince Edward Island, where we were living at the time. It's Green Gables country - home to author Lucy Maud Montgomery who penned the Anne of Green Gables series and more.
I love books, don't you? A part of my book collection includes the Anne of Green Gables series and one more that comes before that. Do you know the story of when Anne was born?
The popular Green Gables series is about the red-haired orphan - Anne Shirley - who was dubbed "carrot top" by her young male admirer. She began her Prince Edward Island life at the age of 13. What may not be known to many readers is that there is a "prequel" to the "Anne books" that was not written by Lucy Maud, but by Budge Wilson, who hails from Nova Scotia.
Budge Wilson is 93! I looked her up online! She has written 39 books and what do you know? Her most popular book is Before Green Gables (The Prequel to Anne of Green Gables). It was specially authorized by Lucy Maud's relatives in honor of the 100th anniversary of Lucy's first book, Anne of Green Gables.
This is my copy of the hardcover book. You can find the paperback on Amazon.com.
Do you remember Anne's window friend, Katie Maurice? Katie lived in the bookcase in Mrs. Thomas' house. The bookcase belonged to Anne's parents and when they died, the household furniture was to go to a family in need.
Mr. Thomas was so angry they weren't getting anything from the Shirley residence - considering that his wife was the Shirley's paid household help - that when no one was around, he drove his cart to the house and stole it!
Here's an excerpt from when Anne was five and a half years old:
Anne stood in front of the china cabinet in the dim back hall and closed her eyes. In the background, she could hear various gurgles and snores - the sounds of sleep. She felt safe. She raised her hand, and opened her eyes.
Behind the glass door, Katie was waving her hand in greeting and smiling broadly. Anne felt her heart skip a beat or two.
"Hello, Katie Maurice," she whispered. "I'm so glad you've come to be my friend. My name is Anne, Anne Shirley, Anne, spelled with an e." Eliza had always said that, so it must be important, even though she had no idea what it meant.
Then Anne paused. Katie Maurice was standing very still and smiling quietly. It was clear that she was eager to hear anything that Anne might choose to tell her.
This story of Anne's beginnings and her journey through orphanhood is filled with love during her parents' short life together, joy at Anne's birth, sadness at their death. Your heart will ache many times about the people who care nothing for children, especially orphans. Greediness and selfishness abound in her small world. Through all her trials and adventures and growing up in loveless homes and orphanages, this courageous carrot top girl triumphs through it all. I expect you will shed some tears. I most certainly did.
Cooking with Anne
Another book you may not be familiar with is The Anne of Green Gables Cookbook which was written by Kate Macdonald, Lucy Maud Montgomery's granddaughter. It's written for children and has excerpts from the "Anne" books and is beautifully illustrated by Barbara Di Lella. You can find the hardcover book like mine on Amazon as well.
If you are familiar with the Green Gable books, then you'll really enjoy the recipes in this cookbook because the cookbook brings to life the food Anne learned to make and enjoy, especially living with Marilla on Prince Edward Island - including "Anne's Liniment Cake!" The recipes are well written and easy for children (and adults) to follow. It's a great book for teaching your children how to cook and to introduce them to the world of Anne of Green Gables!
After you get your copy of Before Green Gables, make a batch of these delicious biscuits, pour yourself a cup of tea. Then sit, sip, nibble, and read!
Afternoon Ruby Tea Biscuits
2 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable shortening (I used solid coconut oil)
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup red jam or jelly
(Biscuit cutters - 1 large, 1 small)
Preheat oven to 425⁰F. Mix the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Cut in the vegetable shortening until the mixture looks like coarse bread crumbs. Add the milk and mix it into the flour with a fork until the mixture forms a soft ball. Place the ball of dough on a lightly floured surface and knead 12 times. Roll out the dough until it's about 1/4 inch thick. With a large biscuit cutter cut circles, very close together. With a metal spatula, lift half the circles onto the cookie sheet. Arrange them about one inch apart. With the smaller cutter, cut a hole in the rest of the circles to make rings, and lift out the centers with the spatula. Set these little centers aside. With the spatula, place the rings on top of the large circles on the cookie sheet. Put a teaspoonful of jam or jelly in the middle of each ring. Bake the biscuits for 12-15 minutes, or until puffed and slightly golden. Immediately lift the tea biscuits from the cookie sheet with the spatula to cool on a rack. Makes 12 biscuits.
(with the leftover centers of dough, you can bake some little plain biscuits).
As I don't have a biscuit cutter, I use a drinking glass to cut out the large circles. And for cutting the small hole, I rescued the cap off an empty salad dressing bottle that was in the recycle bag. Works like a charm!
These photos are from when I was living on Prince Edward Island, and the first time I made these delicious biscuits! I used a blueberry raspberry combination. You can use any kind of jam you like if you don't have raspberry.
I hope you will be in the LORD's house today. Enjoy your Sunday! And your Ruby Tea Biscuits!