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My cookbook addiction has been in full swing lately. Currently, I’m reading cover to cover a new purchase, American Cake by Anne Byrn. This is a food history book as much as a cookbook. So far, I’ve learned the origin of today’s take-for-granted ingredients such as baking powder and gained a new appreciation for my oven imagining how it contrasts to baking a cake in a firepit. Did you know that women actually died from burns while baking? I had no idea. But what I love the most is the dedication to the specialness of baking and how recipes were shared and kept in personal journals long before cookbooks stocked shelves. Resourcefulness is an apparent theme because there were no supermarkets to buy ready to use ingredients. Women churned their own butter, milled their own flours, and raised chickens for eggs. When sugar was scarce, molasses became a go-to sweetener, spices valuable flavoring agents. With utmost respect, as I read these recipes I can’t help but think of my own baking. These impressions unfold a world of potential herbal baking. How easy it seems to substitute an herbal syrup in place of molasses. Using liquid sweeteners in a batter eliminates the butter-sugar creaming step and feels a bit easier. I made these cupcakes before I had this book but I know I will use it as a reference again and again and feel inspired by the history it unfolds.