Reading Matters

Elizabeth Spencer’s recipe for Golden Dream

I was thumbing through my collection of old cookbooks the other day, and I came upon the wonderful “The Great American Writers’ Cookbook,” published in 1981 by Yoknapatawpha Press of Oxford, Miss., and I happened on a mouth-watering-sounding recipe by Elizabeth Spencer of Chapel Hill.

Spencer is the woman who wrote the famous novella, “The Light in the Piazza,” in a month in 1959 and sold it to the New Yorker. McGraw Hill then brought it out as a book, and by 1962, it was made into a movie of the same name.

Spencer can do a lot more than write novellas. In 2014, she won the $30,000 Rea Award for lifetime achievement in short fiction, joining such other greats as the late John Updike and Eudora Welty. Spencer used part of her prize money to landscape a portion of her yard.

In the cookbook, Spencer says Golden Dream is her grandmother Elizabeth Young McCain’s recipe. I haven’t tried to make it yet, but I will soon.

Golden Dream

Beat the yolks of 4 eggs slightly and add 2/3 cup sugar, the juice of one orange. Grate rind of 1/4 of it (the orange), also juice of one lemon. Cook in a double boiler until thick, then beat in the whites of the eggs beaten stiff. Cook a couple of minutes and if desired, two tablespoons of dissolved gelatine may be added and the whole poured into a mould. Chill till firm and serve with whipped cream. You can also pour it into individual moulds, of course.