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Emma Dean: Rosie Dean’s Date Loaf

Article image for Emma Dean: Rosie Dean’s Date Loaf

Rosie Dean’s Date Loaf

Between 1886, when the first American suffragist cookbook was published, and 1920, when the 19th Amendment to the U.S Constitution granted women the right to vote, there were at least a half dozen cookbooks published by suffragette associations in the country.

I love that women used what they knew to raise money and awareness for Women’s Rights, but also in the sale of the cookbooks, women gained new skills in writing, publishing, advertising, networking and sales.

We have come a long way since 1891, when U.S  constitutional law stated that, “idiots, lunatics, paupers, felons and women shall not be entitled to vote”.

Cookbooks to this day are a powerful and useful tool.

My incredible mum collated and edited a cookbook when she was principal at the Bendigo Special Developmental School to not only raise money for school facilities but to also pass on family favourites to time poor families. This date loaf recipe, is one of my family favourites, that my Mum, Rosie also contributed to the cook book.


1 tablespoon butter

1 cup dates

1 cup boiling water

¾ cup sugar

1 teaspoon bicarb soda

2 cups wholemeal flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon


Preheat the oven to 180C conventional.

In a bowl, pour the boiling water over the dates, butter and sugar.

Allow to stand for a few minutes, then add the flour, bicarb of soda, and mix thoroughly.

Put into a large greased loaf tin (or 2 small ones) and bake for 45 minutes.

Cool slightly, and serve with lashings of butter and strong cups of tea!