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Chocolate Water Cake

Thanks to Joyce Lyng of the Sinclair Lewis Boyhood Home for giving us her receipe!

  • 1-1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 squares melted baking chocolate
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Cream sugar and shortening. Add eggs and melted chocolate; beat well. Add remaining ingredients and beat with electric mixer. Stir in nuts. Pour in a greased and floured 9 x 13 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes. Cool; top with your favorite chocolate frosting.

Sinful Christmas Cookies

These are described as Lewis's favorite for Christmas cookies in John Koblas's book, Sinclair Lewis: Home at Last. The recipe has been tweaked over time.

  • 1/2 lb. butter or two sticks of margarine
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped almonds or a package of slivered almonds
  • 2 eggs (3 if they’re small)
  • 1 shot bourbon (the recipe will work without the bourbon, although SL preferred it with)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2-5 tbsp. cocoa (SL preferred Droste's) depending on how chocolatey you like them
  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • 2 tsp almond extract

Make sure you mix the ingredients together well; otherwise, several of the cookies will have a very strong taste! The alcohol  in the bourbon will be cooked out.

Refrigerate the mixture overnight. Drop in rounded balls on cookie sheet. If you indent them in the center, you can put in sprinkles or other decorations. They can also be rolled out thin on a floured board and cut with a cookie cutter but the batter warms up quickly.

Bake on a well-greased cookie sheet for 8 to 10 minutes at 375 degrees. If you can smell them cooking, they are done.

Fanny Farmer Fudge

Thanks again to Joyce Lyng!
  • 1 8-oz. package chocolate chips (not milk chocolate)
  • 1/4 lb. butter or margarine
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 6-oz. evaporated milk
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 100 mini-marshmallows, or 10 cut-up large ones
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts, or to taste (optional)

Place chocolate chips, butter, and vanilla in a bowl; set aside. In a saucepan, combine evaporated milk, sugar, and marshmallows. Heat to boiling and boil for 6 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour boiling mixture in bowl and stir until chips are melted; beat by hand until smooth and creamy. Stir in nuts, if desired. Pour into a buttered 8 x 8 pan. Let cool and cut into pieces. Note: if sweeter candy is desired, add more chocolate chips.


This recipe was made by Joseph Hardrick, Lewis's driver and companion in the late 1930s and early 1940s.

  • 2 cups rice (wash until clear)
  • 1 cup canned tomato
  • Medium slice raw ham
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 green pepper
  • 2 pods garlic
  • 1 shake thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup shrimp
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 cups water
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Fry rice with onion and shortening until brown. Add meat, shrimp, tomatoes, and the rest of seasonings. Cook very slowly for 35 minutes. Serve with honey and hot rolls.


This recipe is from Lewis's niece, Isabel Lewis Agrell.

  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 level tsp. soda dissolved in hot water
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • Pinch of salt
  • Flour, enough to make batter
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts, or to taste (optional)

Beat together, ladle onto a hot griddle, and fry until golden brown.