Sunday, October 4, 2015

A Gentle Giant

I am obliged to Christine Gilbert for these photos

There were few men in fact and fiction that could quite hold a stick to Maine's own Barnabus Coffin Beal. The only difference is that he was truly a living man, with the strength and only legends allude to.

A fisherman, lobsterman and a man who scooped up clams and oysters in order to sell and provide for his huge family. Born in 1836, he grew to become known as Tall Barney, with the strenght of an bear with the gentleness of a cub. One exploit set his name in the annals of history when he stopped in Rockland while out fishing one day. While on land, he was involved in an agument wheter any man present could lift a 1200-ound anchor laying on the dock. The men standing there tried but miserbaley failed. Someone asked Tall Barney to give it a try. Because he was never one to boast, he politely declined. Until, that is, someone bet him five dollars. It didn't take Barney long to realize that five dollars would go along way to feeding his brood back home in Jonesport, Maine.

The behemoth of a man walked over, bent over and lifted this anchor clean off the dock. Turing to his bettor, he was slightly taken aback when hewasn't paid. Never being a man with anger in his body, Barney bent back over again, raised that same anchor, walked to the edge of the wharf adn dropped it right through the bottom of the boat belonging to the man who had refused to pay.

'Tall Barney's' wife, Phoebe

His feats of strength were legendary in life, and the cause of his death. When out fishing , he would often haul his large dory up on the beach when through for the day, draggin it by the tow rope(or painter) all the way out of the water. One day in 1899, at the age of 63 years, he was dragging his boat out of the water at Pond island, Maine after a day of fishing. As he was almost clear of the water, and still a number of feet to go, he broke a blood vessel in his heart and died instantly.

You can read bout him in a poem by Alice Frost Lord, entitled "The Ballad of Tall Barney", publised in 1938 in the Lewiston, Maine Journal. I have only touched upon what is written about this gently giant and I urge you to read more of him.


Italian-Yankee Corn Cake

This perfectly sweetened cake creates its own type of crust around the edges that crisp up as it cools, transforming it into a toss between a cake and a pie actually. It is recommended to slice it into segments before refrigerating, otherwise the caramelized crust will be next to impossible to cut. Classical Italian Corn Cake uses almond extract, but vanilla works equally as well if desired.

Nonstick cooking spray
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 cups small dice apple
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup cornmeal
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
Juice from 1 lemon
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries


Grease a 9-inch cake pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. Mix next 4 ingredients together until thoroughly combined; set aside. In a bowl, combine diced apple, orange juice and cinnamon; set aside. Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. In a medium-sized bowl, blend cornmeal, coconut flour, sugar and baking powder until well blended. Stir in the milk, egg, lemon juice and melted butter. It should be mixed just enough to wet all ingredients, leaving it somewhat lumpy. Fold in the raisins and transfer to prepared pan, leveling out the top. Evenly divide apple mixture, juice and all, on top of batter. Sprinkle topping mixture evenly over the apples and bake 36-38 minutes, or until the center of the cake is firm. Immediately remove from oven to cool slightly before serving hot, or cover and refrigerate to serve cold.

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