Let’s talk a little bit about coconut.
There seems to be a fuzzy timeline on when coconut got adopted into American cuisine. The Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink is cited as saying the first domestic mention was 1834, but a little Louisiana history makes that seem slightly unlikely. See, the Cane River Creoles seem to have been using coconut as long as they’ve been there, starting in the third quarter of the 18th century.
That’s not too much of a shock, when you consider that coconut was known in England in the 16th century, and the French who came over and settled in Natchitoches Parish would not only have been familiar with coconut but would be quite a bit closer to many of the places where it grows. So at the very least, coconut came with Coincoin, adding a tropical accent to the rich mix that is Creole cuisine.
For what its worth, while uptown N’awlins cuisine is constantly evolving, country Creole cuisine hasn’t changed much. Get yourself out to Natchitoches Parish and you’ll find out they still use more coconut than most people use herbs.
A recipe for dream bars appeared in the March 5, 1943 edition of The Pittsburgh Press. And a second recipe for dream bars from 1949 was in the same box.
From the box of L.S. from Joplin, Missouri.
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 c. sifted flour
Mix and pat into well-oiled pan.
Bake 10 minutes–moderate oven.
Remove from oven and spread on top this mixture:
- 2 eggs
- 1 c. brown sugar
- 1 t. vanilla
- 2 T. flour
- 1/4 t. salt
- 1-1/2 c. coconut
- 1 c. nut meats
Mrs. Pratt’s daughter