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Title: Uncle Chatterton’s Gingerbread

Date of first publication: 1912

Author: L. M. (Lucy Maud) Montgomery (1874-1942)

Date first posted: May 25, 2017

Date last updated: May 25, 2017

Faded Page eBook #20170549

This ebook was produced by: Alex White & the online Distributed Proofreaders Canada team at http://www.pgdpcanada.net

Uncle Chatterton’s Gingerbread

L. M. Montgomery

First published Housewife, March 1912.

This time it was the gingerbread. Uncle Chatterton had to find fault with something. It was a matter of principle with him. If ever the day passed whose low descending sun failed to set upon some adverse comment of Uncle Chatterton’s concerning his bill of fare, Aunt Chatterton put a kettleful of water on the stove before she went to bed, in the firm belief that it and a doctor would be needed before morning.

“This gingerbread,” said Uncle Chatterton, “is not fit for the pigs.”

The rest of us had eaten our squares of it without finding this out. It was very good gingerbread—not quite up to Aunt Chatterton’s mark perhaps, but still, very fair average gingerbread.

Georgiana looked indignant, but Aunt Chatterton’s brow cleared. Uncle Chatterton had not grumbled at anything during breakfast or dinner. It was a relief to her when he began at last.

“It is a little coarse-grained,” she said apologetically. “I don’t think that last barrel of flour is quite as good as the one we had before.”

Uncle Chatterton snorted: “If that isn’t like a woman! Never give in that it’s her own fault, of course. The flour is all right. The recipe is the trouble. If you’d use the recipe my mother gave you, you’d have gingerbread fit to eat. My mother used to make the best gingerbread I ever ate.”

“Your mother’s recipe calls for sour cream and you know we never have any,” protested Aunt Chatterton.

“Well, why don’t we have?” Uncle Chatterton was getting more excited every minute. “Anyway, such gingerbread as this is a menace to the digestion and health of every unfortunate creature who rashly attempts to eat it. I could make better gingerbread myself.”

“Why don’t you make it, then?”

Of course it was Georgiana who asked this. None of us would have dared. But Georgiana belonged to some weird new place out West, where people said what they thought. This was her first visit East, and she was not yet sufficiently sophisticated to be in awe of Uncle Chatterton.

“Wha-a-t?” gasped Uncle Chatterton.

“I said, Why don’t you make it?” repeated Georgiana, sweetly and calmly. “Won’t Aunt Chatterton let you?”

Uncle Chatterton’s face was a study.

“Y-young w-woman!” he spluttered. Then he stopped and drank a glass of milk to relieve his feelings, after which he said: “I will make it for tea to-morrow night. It’s the simplest thing in the world. I’ll send over to Mrs. Grigsby for some sour cream, and you’ll see.”

Uncle Chatterton was game. He would rather die than give in that he couldn’t make gingerbread after all his growling. Accordingly, the next afternoon Uncle Chatterton made the gingerbread for tea.

We all went into the kitchen to watch him. He was beaming with good nature and made us all furious by assuming genially that we had come to learn how good gingerbread was really made. Aunt Chatterton tied one of her big blue aprons around him, and hunted out his mother’s recipe for him. Mrs. Grigsby had sent up a whole jug of sour cream, and Uncle Chatterton went to work with energy.

He measured and sifted and stirred—all quite deftly, as we had to admit. He did get slightly flustered when he broke one of the eggs by mistake into the sour cream instead of into his mixing bowl; but he cheerfully decided that it didn’t matter because eggs were cheap and the rest of the cream wasn’t needed anyway.

“I’m going to put lots of ginger in,” he said. “Maria never flavors it strong enough for me.”

When his mixture was ready he poured it into the pan and triumphantly set it in the oven.

“Now, you girls may set the table,” he said. “That cake will be ready to eat in about twenty minutes.”

When the gingerbread came out of the oven it was beautifully light and puffy.

“Say I can’t make gingerbread, will you, young woman?” chuckled Uncle Chatterton at Georgiana.

Georgiana’s crest was drooping, but she replied that the proof of the pudding was in the eating.

Uncle Chatterton turned the steaming gingerbread out on a plate and carried it proudly to the table. Triumph seemed to ooze out of him at every pore. When the gingerbread was passed he helped himself to the largest, piece and took a big, brave bite.

We all saw the look on his face and each of us hastened to sample his or her piece. We did not take a second bite, however. Georgiana, who has a delicate throat, very nearly choked to death.

Uncle Chatterton had gingered that gingerbread with mustard!


Mis-spelled words and printer errors have been fixed.

[The end of Uncle Chatterton’s Gingerbread by L. M. (Lucy Maud) Montgomery]