Step 1Place raisins in mixing bowl and sprinkle with baking soda. Pour boiling water over raisins, then let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
Step 2Cream sugar and butter, then beat in egg and salt. Add to raisins and mix well. Add flour to mixture and stir well. Stir in walnuts. Place rounds of greased wax paper in bottoms of 2 tall 1-pound coffee cans that have been well greased. Divide batter between cans.
Step 3Place cans in oven and bake at 350 degrees until toothpick inserted in bread comes out clean, 1 hour. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes. Run knife between bread and cans to loosen, then turn bread out on rack to cool. Cut into slices and serve.