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Sally Lunn's Secret : Recipe in Rhyme to Make a Bun Sublime

December 29, 1985

The original recipe that Sally Lunn devised to bake her famous buns in Bath remains a secret. But a century after she arrived in the Georgian city, this poem, "Receipt to Make a Sally Lunn (a Well-Known Cake at Bath)," speculated on the ingredients and method Lunn used. Published in the Bath Chronicle on Oct. 13, 1796, the paper credited Major Drewe of Exeter as the poet.

\o7 No more I heed the muffin's zest

The Yorkshire cake or bun,

Sweet Muse of Pastry! teach me how

To make a Sally Lunn.

Take thou of luscious wholesome cream

What the full pint contains,

Warm as the native blood which flows

In youthful virgin's veins.

Hast thou not seen in olive rind,

The Wall-tree's rounded nut?

Of juicy butter just its size

In thy clean pastry put.

Hast thou not seen the golden yolk,

In crystal shrine immur'd;

Whence brooded o'er by fost'ring wing

Forth springs the warrior bird?

Oh! save three birds from savage man

And combat's sanguine hour;

Crush in three yolks the seeds of life

And on the butter pour.

Take then a cup that holds the juice

Fam'd China's fairest pride:

Let foaming yeast its concave fill,

And froth adown its side.

But seek thou, first, for neatness' sake

The Naiad's crystal stream:

Swift let it round the concave play,

and o'er the surface gleam.

Of salt, more keen than that of Greece,

which cooks, not poets, use,

Sprinkle thou then with sparing hand

And thro' the mass diffuse.

Then let it rest, disturb'd no more,

Safe in its steady seat,

Till thrice Time's warning bell hath struck

Nor yet the hour compleat.

And now let Fancy revel free,

By no stern rule confin'd;

On glitt'ring tin, in varied form,

Each Sally Lunn be twin'd.

But heed thou well to lift thy thought

To me thy power divine;

Then to oven's glowing mouth

The wondrous work consign.

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