Amadama Bread (Madama? Epidemic?) (1922)

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Wed Nov 16 16:03:04 UTC 2005

AMADAMA BREAD--11 Google hits
ANADAMA BREAD--19,200 Google hits
I knew there was a different spelling. Thanks...Anyone know where the
"Reliable Cook Book" can be located? When was it published?
_Efficient;  Housekeeping _
Laura A Kirkman. The Los Angeles Times (1886-Current File). Feb 14, 1922. p.
II8 (1 page) :
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
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.

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