Considering how much I like to cook and bake, I’m surprised I don’t mention food more often in my books. For one thing, it would give me something to blog about when I’m stumped for a topic. For another, when food is mentioned in a book I’m reading, it makes the story more real, somehow — so real that usually I want some of whatever the characters are eating, too.
(Well, as long as it’s not always the same food. I once read a series where the main characters seemed to eat nothing but hamburgers. Not. Fun.)
One of my favorite examples is in Georgette Heyer’s The Reluctant Widow, which I have read too many times to count. (I have more than one copy, and I’m pretty sure one of them has this cover pic. My mother’s copy, an original hardback, was falling apart when I read it–because she too had reread it so often.) When Elinor asks for coffee with bread and butter, I immediately crave it, too. No idea why—it’s not exactly exotic fare—but I salivate for it every single time.
Historicals are full of food I’d love to sample—collops of veal, fish and oyster pie, lobster patties, syllabub, asparagus pudding…
Yes, asparagus pudding! (I may have mentioned it here before. I have a bit of an obsession with asparagus pudding.) I read old cookbooks (such as the above) and even try out some of the recipes, but I haven’t made asparagus pudding yet. It sounds awful, but who knows—it may be delicious. There’s only one way to find out, and one day I will do so. I’ve just added it to my bucket list, which now has two items. (The other is to succeed at knitting socks).
Anyway, today I’m going to give you a recipe. (If I posted it here before, oh, well. It’s hard to remember what I have and haven’t done.) If you’re not on a low-carb diet, you can bake it, feast on it, and make me horribly envious. What fun!
“A Nice Plum Cake” (which doesn’t contain plums) is adapted from Mrs. Beeton’s cookbook, which was first published in the mid-19th century. I mention this cake (more of a quick bread, really) in my novella, Notorious Eliza.
3 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. soda
½ tsp. salt
1-1/2 cups currants
1/3 cup diced candied lemon peel
1 stick butter
1-1/4 cups milk
Bake in a greased loaf pan at 350 degrees F for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out more or less clean. It’s good! (No, it doesn’t have any eggs, and yes, it binds just fine.)
Do you like reading about food in historical novels? Do you sometimes wish you could try the same food, too?
My latest release, Lady of the Flames, has food in it — French pastries — which I have never tried to make, but I’m told some of them, such as cream puffs, are easy. Anybody have a good recipe to share?
Magic is fraught with peril—but so is love.
Lord Fenimore Trent’s uncanny affinity for knives and other sharp blades led to duels and murderous brawls until he found a safe, peaceful outlet by opening a furniture shop—an unacceptable occupation for a man of noble birth. Now Fen’s business partner has been accused of treason. In order to root out the real traitor, he may have to resort to the violent use of his blades once again.
Once upon a time, Andromeda Gibbons believed in magic. That belief faded after her mother’s death and vanished completely when Lord Fenimore, the man she loved, spurned her. Five years later, Andromeda has molded herself into a perfect—and perfectly unhappy—lady. When she overhears her haughty betrothed plotting treason, she flees into the London night—to Fen, the one man she knows she can trust. But taking refuge with him leads to far more than preventing treason. Can she learn to believe in love, magic, and the real Andromeda once again?