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Archive for the ‘Regency food’ Category

Gentle readers, this poem in a mid-19th century children’s family circle book perfectly describes the long and arduous day of an ordinary family cook.

The Discontented Cook. Image @Forrester's pictorial miscellany for the family circle edited by Mark Forrester, 1855

Oh, who would wish to be a cook,
To live in such a broil!

With all one’s pains, to cook one’s brains,
And lead a Life of toil?

“Tis, Stir the pudding, Peggy,
And give those ducks a turn;

Be quick, be quick, you lazy jade!
Else one or both will burn.

An hour before the rising sun
I’m forced to leave my bed,

To make the fires, and fry the cakes,

And get the table spread.
‘Tis, Stir the pudding, Peggy,

And give those ducks a turn;
Be quick, be quick, you lazy jade!

Else one or both will burn.

The breakfast’s scarely over,

And all things set to rights,
Before the savory haunch, or fowl,

My skill and care invites.
‘T is, Stir the pudding, Peggy,

And give those ducks a turn;
Be quick, be quick, you lazy jade!

Else one or both will burn.

And here I stand before the fire,

And turn them round and round;
And keep the kettle boiling —

I hate their very sound!
‘T is, Stir the pudding, Peggy,

And give those ducks a turn;
Be quick, be quick, you lazy jade!

Else one or both will burn.

And long before the day is spent,

I ‘m all in such a toast,
You scarce could tell which’s done the most

Myself, or what I roast!
‘Tis, Stir the pudding, Peggy,

And give those ducks a turn;
Be quick, be quick, you lazy jade’.

Else one or both will burn.

From Forrester’s Pictorial Miscellany for the Family Circle, 1855

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If I had only read Kim Wilson’s Tea with Jane Austen many years ago, I would have saved myself a lot of trouble. Yes, gentle readers, I spent hours researching the history of tea and how and when people in the Regency era served it only to find that most of the information had already been gathered in this book.

Tea With Jane Austen at the Morgan Library & Museum gift shop. Image @Jane Austen's World

Kim published her slim but informative book in 2004, two years before I began this blog. It is now in its second edition, and rightly so. The author has included almost all the facts and social customs about tea that a Regency romance author or Jane Austen fan or 18th- and 19th-century social historian could want.

Image inside the book. Copyright 2011 Frances Lincoln Ltd

I read this slim but fact-packed volume in two sittings the first time around, and have since read it twice more. Each time I have been DELIGHTED. Kim includes information about the Austens; a short history of tea; mealtimes and the hours they were taken by both simple folks and the gentry;

A sample page - Making the Perfect Cup. Click on image. Copyright 2011 Kim Wilson

tea served in the home and outside of it; tea served in the morning and at a grand ball; the best way to prepare tea (or how the English do it); the health benefits of tea; shopping for tea; recipes for tea treats (including one for Mr. Woodhouse’s gruel!); and the difference between high tea and low tea (and why so many of us use the terms wrong).

One of the many charming quotes sprinkled throughout the book. Copyright 2011 Frances Lincoln Ltd

If I have any fault to find with the book is that it’s too short. Thankfully, Kim Wilson also wrote In the Garden with Jane Austen, a book I shall review at a later time. I give Tea with Jane Austen five out of five china tea cups. Order the book here: Frances Lincoln, UK; and Amazon.com US

5 out of 5 tea cups

Binding: Hardback, 128 pages
ISBN: 9780711231894
Format: 215mm x 165mm
40 colour and 45 b/w illustrations

BIC Code: BGL, WBX
BISAC Code: BIO007000
Imprint: Frances Lincoln

More About Tea

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Gentle Readers, I am spending July 4th with my family. We will picnic, eating a variety of collations, both hot and cold, and enjoying time with our extended family, including mothers, fathers, children, nieces and nephews, grandparents and great grandchildren.

Box Hill, view from the train. Image @Tony Grant

Because I am a Jane Austen aficionado, I am reminded of Emma’s picnic on Box Hill, which couldn’t be further from the closeness that my family will feel on the day we celebrate America’s birth.

View from Box Hill, Emma 2009

The wretchedness of a scheme to Box Hill was in Emma’s thoughts all the evening. How it might be considered by the rest of the party, she could not tell. They, in their different homes, and their different ways, might be looking back on it with pleasure; but in her view it was a morning more completely misspent, more totally bare of rational satisfaction at the time, and more to be abhorred in recollection, than any she had ever passed. – Emma, Jane Austen, Chapter 44

No one was quite satisfied with Emma’s planned outing, least of all Miss Bates, Mr. Knightley, and Emma. The Eltons wandered off bored and disappointed, and Miss Fairfax keenly felt the insults that Emma and Frank Churchill hurled her way.

Box Hill, Emma 2009. Fabulous view.

Yet Box Hill was a beautiful location, with a view that wouldn’t quit. It is still a tourist destination, and a place that offers peace and quiet to those who would enjoy its beauty.  Unlike Emma, I am prepared to enjoy my picnic with my family. Happy July 4th, all!

 

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Gentle Readers: To celebrate the 3 millionth visitor to this blog, I will be giving away Tea With Jane Austen, a delightful and informative book by Kim Wilson. Deadline: The contest will end the moment my blog meter records 3 million or July 4th, whichever comes first! Contest Closed! Congratulations, Sherry, and thank you ALL for participating and leaving such excellent questions!

All you need to do is leave a comment and a way for me to reach you. Please address this question: If Jane Austen came over for tea, which burning question would you want to ask her?

Thank you all for visiting my blog and for making it such a joy to meet you online.

Page 16 of Tea with Jane Austen. Image @Amazon.com

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Gentle readers,

Summer means long, lazy afternoons lounging in the yard or by the pool side, grilling meats like hamburgers, sausages, and hot dogs. The hamburger has had a long tradition.

In 1802, the Oxford English Dictionary defined Hamburg steak as salt beef. It had little resemblance to the hamburger we know today. It was a hard slab of salted minced beef, often slightly smoked, mixed with onions and breadcrumbs. The emphasis was more on durability than taste. “ – Hamburger History 

Sailors from Hamburg, Germany, crossed the Baltic Sea regularly and returned with a taste for the minced raw beef dishes served up in Russian ports. The German haus-frau’s interpretation of these Baltic dishes was to fry or broil the patties. And voila! The Hamburg steak was born. By the late 1700’s the British knew them as Hamburg sausages.

Enter Hannah Glasse and her famous Art of Cookery book, which featured a recipe for Hamburgh sausage.

Hannah Glasse's recipe for Common Sausages

“By the mid-18th century, German immigrants also begin arriving in England. One recipe, titled “Hamburgh Sausage,” appeared in Hannah Glasse’s 1758 English cookbook called The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy. It consisted of chopped beef, suet, and spices. The author recommended that this sausage be served with toasted bread. Hannah Glasse’s cookbook was also very popular in Colonial America, although it was not published in the United States until 1805. This American edition also contained the “Hamburgh Sausage” recipe with slight revisions.” – History and Legends of Hamburger 

By 1834, the menu of Delmonico’s in New York City advertised a Hamburger steak. And the rest, as they say, is history. Today the humble hamburger is popular the world over due to the marketing genius (or avarice?) of McDonald’s and other fast food chains.

18th c. Sausage shop. Image © Wellcome Trust

Image description: Two men are working with knives and cleavers as another makes sausages, a woman has come to buy and is holding some money in her hand. Coloured etching. A pork-butcher’s shop: two butchers are working with knives and cleavers as another makes sausages, a woman has come to buy and is holding some money in her hand. Coloured etching, 18-. 19th c.” – Wellcome Trust

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