Tuesday, December 1, 2015

From the Lighthouse Kitchen

Cape Cod is known for many things, including lighthouses and cranberries. After a presentation on Cape Cod more than twenty years ago , a lady in the audience greeted me and said she was the ex-wife of a Coast Guard bos'un who had been a keeper at Nobska Lighthouse. (Photo above from Wikimedia Commons)

We chatted a few moments and then I asked if she had any memories to share. She did, and among them was this recipe for Nobska Lighthouse Cranberry Bread. It's perfect this time of year. I've made it a few times and can vouch for the good taste, especially warm with butter. I included the recipe in my Lighthouse Almanac, (Sentinel Publications, 2000, now out of print).

Nobska Lighthouse Cranberry Bread
2  1/4 cups of flour
3/4 cup of sugar
1 tsp. of baking soda
1 large egg
3/4 cup of milk
1 tbsp. of lard or other shortening
1 cup of cranberries, cooked in a little water to make a gel
1 cup of chopped nuts
Combine dry ingredients and set aside. Combine egg, sugar, milk, and lard and beat well. Work in flour a little at a time, then add cranberries and nuts and mix until blended. Dough will be thick. Spoon into two greased and floured loaf pans and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour, or until a knife inserted in the bread comes out clean. You can sprinkle on a little extra sugar or make a thick drizzled icing for more sweetness.

Nobska Lighthouse was first placed in service in 1829. Below is an image of the 1829 lighthouse, which cost about $3,000. It was a classic New England saltbox design! This tower lasted until the 1870s. (Photo courtesy of the Coast Guard Historian's Office)
In 1876, the original lighthouse was torn down and replaced.  Cast iron pieces for the new tower were fabricated in Chelsea, Massachusetts and shipped to Woods Hole. The cast-iron lighthouse was assembled and lined with brick.

The 40-foot tower stands on a hill next to the keeper's residence overlooking the spot where Buzzards Bay meets Vineyard Sound and the entrance to Woods Hole Harbor. A Coast Guard officer and his family live in the quarters. This is a heavily visited and photographed lighthouse--one that typifies New England sentinels.

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