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The Boston Globe

Food & dining

On a Maine island, she nods to the past

ISLESBORO, Maine — On a fall afternoon author and historian Sandra Oliver is preparing lunch in the sunny kitchen of her 100-year-old farmhouse here. She leans over a wood-burning cook stove to check on old-fashioned brown bread, steaming away in a glass double boiler. She pokes at the surface with a well-worn paring knife. The tip comes out covered in sticky batter. “Nope,” says Oliver, “not yet. Back she goes.”

Oliver, 64, who writes the weekly “Taste Buds” column for the Bangor Daily News, and is the author of four books, is generally fond of old things and old ways, brown bread included. The recipe comes from her latest volume, “Maine Home Cooking: 175 Recipes From Down East Kitchens.” Many of the dishes come from Oliver’s friends, island neighbors, and readers of her column. “Savory Puddings used to be part of most meals in New England,” says Oliver. “In the mid-19th century they started to fade away, but lucky for us brown bread remained. I just love it.”

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