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Popular lemon bread recipe is back, 50 years later

Prompted by a customer, BC Hydro librarian rediscovers a gem

This is the story of a recipe bringing people together, nearly 50 years after it was first published.

It's also the story of two people who share a love of good baking.

BC Hydro customer Jill Ogloff had been looking high and low for a missing sheet of paper with a lemon loaf recipe that her mother, who passed away in 2003, had given her.

“I had a photocopy of the recipe in a page protector and I panicked when I lost it because it was so delicious,” Ogloff said. “I was also attached to it because my mom gave me a copy of it when I first left home."

Jill recalled seeing the recipe in a magazine published by BC Electric, the predecessor to BC Hydro. She searched online and discovered references to a catalogue of the magazines but couldn't find the recipes. So she emailed BC Hydro for more information.

Serendipitous detective work

That email put Ogloff in touch with Pat Crawford, BC Hydro’s librarian. Initially, Crawford was not sure she would be able to find the recipe in the archives.

“Jill and I had a nice chat, and after I started looking, I realized quickly that she was looking for a magazine with a different date," recalled Crawford. "When I looked further, I saw that it wasn’t in the employee publication for that year."

A few days later, Crawford was moving some old, fragile brochures into archival folders, sorted by year.

"I found the lemon loaf recipe right on the top of the pile, in a 1962 Victoria Service Digest," she said.

Crawford immediately called Ogloff with the news.

“I was thrilled to hear that Pat had found this recipe,” said Ogloff. “Fifty years ago, the digests were mailed to homes as an insert with your BC Hydro bill. My mom loved baking and cooking, and she was always making the date loaf, banana bread or lemon loaf recipes from this publication. You can also make an excellent lemonade with the sauce part of the recipe by just adding water and ice to it, which is another reason it is so versatile.”

Recipe brings back memories

“Growing up, my dad worked as a mariner on a tugboat and my mom worked part-time as a stenographer for the B.C. Land Surveyor’s office, but she was always home after school for us," said Ogloff. "She enjoyed cooking, so we rarely ate takeout."

That love of baking and cooking has been passed down from Ogloff's mom to her, and now to her kids.

“I bake a lot of banana bread at our house. My son just made cinnamon buns last week and this morning my daughter and I were icing cupcakes for her birthday,” she said. “The kids love when I make the banana bread or lemon loaf recipe – it doesn’t last long in our house. My husband likes a big slice heated with ice cream on top.”

BC Hydro conducts a taste test

Crawford shared the lemon loaf recipe with her colleague Elizabeth Byrne, who baked it up and brought it into work for the entire library staff to feast on this past Halloween.

“My manager, Eddie Van Dam, dropped by," she recalls, "and when I told him where the recipe came from, he was very keen that we tell all Hydro employees about how good this loaf is."

Lemon Bread

1 cup of sugar
½ cup of shortening
2 eggs, beaten
½ cup of milk
1 lemon rind, finely grated
1 ½ cups of flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
½ teaspoon of salt

¼ cup of sugar
Juice of one lemon (1/4 cup)

Combine sugar, shortening, eggs, milk and lemon rind. Sift together flour and baking powder and add them to the mixture. Pour mixture into 1 9X5 inch greased loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour at 325 F.

While loaf is baking, combine ¼ cup of sugar and lemon juice. Stir frequently until sugar is dissolved. When loaf is baked, remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes in pan, then turn out on to plate. Pour juice and sugar over loaf and leave on platter to cool.

Original recipe, as published in 1962