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The Jane Austen Cookbook

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Jane Austen wrote her novels in the midst of a large and sociable family. Brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, friends and acquaintances were always coming and going, which offered numerous occasions for convivial eating and drinking. One of Jane’s dearest friends, Martha Lloyd, lived with the family for many years and recorded in her “Household Book” over 100 recipes Jane Austen wrote her novels in the midst of a large and sociable family. Brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, friends and acquaintances were always coming and going, which offered numerous occasions for convivial eating and drinking. One of Jane’s dearest friends, Martha Lloyd, lived with the family for many years and recorded in her “Household Book” over 100 recipes enjoyed by the Austens. A selection of this family fare, now thoroughly tested and modernized for today’s cooks, is recreated here, together with some of the more sophisticated dishes which Jane and her characters would have enjoyed at balls, picnics, and supper parties. A fascinating introduction describes Jane’s own interest in food, drawing upon both the novels and her letters, and explains the social conventions of shopping, eating, and entertaining in late Georgian and Regency England. The book is illustrated throughout with delightful contemporary line drawings, prints, and watercolours. Authentic recipes, modernized for today’s cooks, include: • Buttered Prawns • Wine-Roasted Gammon and Pigeon Pie • Broil’d Eggs • White Soup and Salmagundy • Pyramid Creams • Martha’s Almond Cheesecakes


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Jane Austen wrote her novels in the midst of a large and sociable family. Brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, friends and acquaintances were always coming and going, which offered numerous occasions for convivial eating and drinking. One of Jane’s dearest friends, Martha Lloyd, lived with the family for many years and recorded in her “Household Book” over 100 recipes Jane Austen wrote her novels in the midst of a large and sociable family. Brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, friends and acquaintances were always coming and going, which offered numerous occasions for convivial eating and drinking. One of Jane’s dearest friends, Martha Lloyd, lived with the family for many years and recorded in her “Household Book” over 100 recipes enjoyed by the Austens. A selection of this family fare, now thoroughly tested and modernized for today’s cooks, is recreated here, together with some of the more sophisticated dishes which Jane and her characters would have enjoyed at balls, picnics, and supper parties. A fascinating introduction describes Jane’s own interest in food, drawing upon both the novels and her letters, and explains the social conventions of shopping, eating, and entertaining in late Georgian and Regency England. The book is illustrated throughout with delightful contemporary line drawings, prints, and watercolours. Authentic recipes, modernized for today’s cooks, include: • Buttered Prawns • Wine-Roasted Gammon and Pigeon Pie • Broil’d Eggs • White Soup and Salmagundy • Pyramid Creams • Martha’s Almond Cheesecakes

30 review for The Jane Austen Cookbook

  1. 5 out of 5

    Danette

    An interesting look at the food & dinners of Jane Austen's day. The recipes have been updated for modern kitchens. j I'm looking forward to trying a couple of the desserts at a Pride & Prejudice viewing party this weekend. UPDATE: The bread pudding was delicious!! 2018 - A book of my choice

  2. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Must admit I love this. Two passions (cooking and Austen) combined, with illustrations!! Full of fun tidbits about Regency social and domestic history—in other words, when, what, and how they ate. The recipes (or “receipts”) are mostly Austen family recipes from Martha Lloyd’s cookbook; some feature in Jane’s novels (i.e. white soup, strawberry crème pudding, and syllabub). Sheer delight for social historians or Austen lovers who love to cook.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Deborah

    I enjoyed reading the history behind the receipts in this book. I liked how the author put the modernization of the recipe below so I could try making the ones that interested me. My favorite is the macaroni and chees because it is so different from the traditional American macaroni and cheese. I am not a macaroni and cheese fan, but love this recipe.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    This is a very informative and interesting little cookbook. The tidbits about the importance of food in Jane Austen's time and novels is something that I'd never really thought about before, even though I'm a through and through Jane-ite. To top it all off many of the recipes are actually delicious. (Definitely try the bread pudding and salmon.)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    This book was a gift from a dear friend, and I love it. The collection of authentic recipes brings Jane's books to life even more. I am really looking forward to making some of the desserts (particularly the gingerbread), and truly feeling a part of the time period that I so dearly love. Excellent!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jules Brugel

    This is an interesting read. I find it delightful to learn how people prepare and eat food during Victorian period.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kathie

    Interesting historical information about food customs in Regency England. While the authenticity is great (recipes quoted directly from an Austen family member's book of receipts) I don't think many will recreate Pheasant a la Baise or Pigeon Pie. After reading in the introduction that Jane mentioned in her letters making Orange Wine, I flipped to the recipe thinking I'd try it and learned it takes a year to make. So perhaps this book is geared more towards research purposes or dedicated devotee Interesting historical information about food customs in Regency England. While the authenticity is great (recipes quoted directly from an Austen family member's book of receipts) I don't think many will recreate Pheasant a la Baise or Pigeon Pie. After reading in the introduction that Jane mentioned in her letters making Orange Wine, I flipped to the recipe thinking I'd try it and learned it takes a year to make. So perhaps this book is geared more towards research purposes or dedicated devotees than the dabbling cook.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nasty Lady MJ

    This is one of those cookbooks that makes for a good conversation topic, but it's not exactly something you'd want to make. However, given the fact that the local county courthouse that a lot of my cases are at is infected with pigeons and doesn't have phone service I have made a ton of inside jokes about the pigeon pie featured in this book would actually be fitting for said courthouse. I might do a full review at some point, but this is one of those books you'd talk about rather than actual ma This is one of those cookbooks that makes for a good conversation topic, but it's not exactly something you'd want to make. However, given the fact that the local county courthouse that a lot of my cases are at is infected with pigeons and doesn't have phone service I have made a ton of inside jokes about the pigeon pie featured in this book would actually be fitting for said courthouse. I might do a full review at some point, but this is one of those books you'd talk about rather than actual make something out of.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jana Eichhorn

    Interesting for the history portion, but even the modernized versions of the recipes seem unwieldy. I had to Google a lot of ingredients just to try to get a sense of what these dishes might taste like. Also, recipes like these are why the world thinks that all English food is terrible. But hey, at least I now know what a 'whipt syllabub' is. Not that I want any. It's a dessert with mustard in it, y'all. Maybe England deserves that reputation after all.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Annalin

    Well written, lots of background info and primary/secondary source material... was not particularly tempted by some of the odder recipes but most sounded good!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lucy Lacefield

    It gave the time and the daily realm of Jane Austen tangible life! It was great fun to think we shared a centuries apart meal together!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Selena

    This book is a mish-mash of all kinds of recipes for all kinds of occasions. Too bad the recipes aren't always the clearest. It's written with a chef in mind, not really the average person who follows step-by-step directions. Though, to be fair, I don't think people who aren't good at cooking would attempt half of these recipes. They're not exactly the kind of thing most people would make day-to-day. Each recipe includes the original version in the original language (in other words, interesting b This book is a mish-mash of all kinds of recipes for all kinds of occasions. Too bad the recipes aren't always the clearest. It's written with a chef in mind, not really the average person who follows step-by-step directions. Though, to be fair, I don't think people who aren't good at cooking would attempt half of these recipes. They're not exactly the kind of thing most people would make day-to-day. Each recipe includes the original version in the original language (in other words, interesting but not usually helpful for the modern day cook who doesn't know the lingo), the ingredients in three different measurements (grams, ounces, and tablespoons/cups measurements for liquids), and then (usually) an updated version that modern chefs can understand. These aren't step-by-step, however, but in the form of instructional paragraphs, making it very easy to lose track of what you're doing. I don't quite understand the order of recipes or sections, but there is an index in the back to help you find stuff. The dishes have somewhat generic names, and there aren't any pictures for us to admire how tasty things look (a side note: I love cookbooks with pictures. I'm a very visual person, so I tend to look just as much at pictures for what I want to make from a cookbook as the dish's name and ingredients). There's a large "intro" section that's all about the era Jane Austen lived in, which was pretty interesting. It does things like compare our time to theirs, talks about the social mannerisms when it comes to dining (among other things), and even discusses Jane Austen's novels. This part was probably more interesting to me and easier to understand than the recipes themselves. So if you like Jane Austen, this is worth a look, but unless you're very comfortable in the kitchen, you might not want to attempt most of these recipes.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Deb

    I bought this book a couple of years ago because I am an Austen geek and I thought I would make white soup some day inspired by my frequent Pride and Prejudice rereading. That never happened. Luckily, I was inspired to pull it out to find a couple of recipe for the Food 'N Flix monthly blogging event I take part in. This month the film was The Jane Austen Book Club and I was inspired to set "the Jane Austen mood" --making Mamalett of Aprecoks (Apricot Marmalade) and Raspberry "Vinegar' (Cordial) I bought this book a couple of years ago because I am an Austen geek and I thought I would make white soup some day inspired by my frequent Pride and Prejudice rereading. That never happened. Luckily, I was inspired to pull it out to find a couple of recipe for the Food 'N Flix monthly blogging event I take part in. This month the film was The Jane Austen Book Club and I was inspired to set "the Jane Austen mood" --making Mamalett of Aprecoks (Apricot Marmalade) and Raspberry "Vinegar' (Cordial). The marmalade used a technique of making pipin water from the peels and cores of apples to help flavor and set the jam. The raspberry vinegar cordial reminded me of a drinking 'shrub' and was delicious mixed into seltzer for a sophisticated soda. (I did adapt the directions for making this one as I was under a time crunch and didn't have time to cold process like the recipe suggested. I will try it as the book instructs another time because I think I am addicted to it now--so tart/sweet, unique and so delicious.) You can see both recipes and photos here: http://kahakaikitchen.blogspot.com/20... If like me, you love Austen, cooking, and learning about cooking and food history, you will like this little book. In addition to the recipes, there is great information on food and social customs in Regency and Georgian Britain, what was served for different times, meals, courses, etc. The recipes have the original historical instructions--adding to the flavor of the book, but have clearer, more modern recipes and instructions as well. There are some fun recipes from the Austen family included. Although I don't eat meat and many of the recipes I wouldn't try, there are several--including a version of the white soup, salads, baked good, puddings and veggie sides that I will try.

  14. 5 out of 5

    H.L.

    Deirdre le Faye is well known for having edited the go-to collection of Austen’s letters, so I knew the The Jane Austen Cookbook would be more for the scholar than the casual reader. I wasn’t as familiar with Maggie Black’s work, but I found her expertise on historical cooking complimented le Faye’s knowledge of Austen very well. The first forty or so pages detailed the food mentioned in the novels, as well as general information about Georgian eating habits, food production, and general attitu Deirdre le Faye is well known for having edited the go-to collection of Austen’s letters, so I knew the The Jane Austen Cookbook would be more for the scholar than the casual reader. I wasn’t as familiar with Maggie Black’s work, but I found her expertise on historical cooking complimented le Faye’s knowledge of Austen very well. The first forty or so pages detailed the food mentioned in the novels, as well as general information about Georgian eating habits, food production, and general attitudes toward food––all of which was fascinating because it is so completely different from the way we approach food today. (Of course it’s completely obvious that our food culture bears no resemblance to Austen’s, what with refrigeration and transportation and modern farming practices being what they are. But still.) What sets this book apart from some of the other books with Austen-themed food is that these recipes are taken from the notebook of Martha Lloyd, a close family friend who lived with the Austens for several years. So it is altogether possible that the recipes are ones that Austen and her family would have enjoyed themselves on a regular basis. It’s probably worth mentioning that practically none of the main dishes are vegetarian, but again given the time period that’s to be expected. Additionally, to a modern reader the recipes range from slightly odd to nose-wrinklingly bizarre. Which is precisely why I’m determined to try them all. A soup featuring sautéed cucumber? Yes please. And how could I pass up “Ragoo of Celery with Wine?” If you’re interested in the history of food culture, a devotee of Austen, or just generally up for a food adventure, check this out.

  15. 4 out of 5

    SmartBitches

    Full review at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books The Jane Austen Cookbook doesn’t look promising (it’s skinny) but it turned out to be a lot of fun. This book talks about cooking in a historical context, and then gives recipes in both their original forms and updated forms. Someone with an interest in history can enjoy the history, and someone who wants to actually cook the stuff can do so in a pretty accessible manner, although I doubt you’ll be whipping up Ragoo of Celery with Wine every weeknight. P Full review at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books The Jane Austen Cookbook doesn’t look promising (it’s skinny) but it turned out to be a lot of fun. This book talks about cooking in a historical context, and then gives recipes in both their original forms and updated forms. Someone with an interest in history can enjoy the history, and someone who wants to actually cook the stuff can do so in a pretty accessible manner, although I doubt you’ll be whipping up Ragoo of Celery with Wine every weeknight. Personally, I hate to cook but I love to read cookbooks, and I learned a lot from this one although I have no intention of making Ragoo of Celery. Every recipe has a citation, so if you want to try to see the full original recipe instead of an excerpt, you have a shot at tracking it down (the bibliography is excellent). And then we have…recipes! The format is such that each recipe is introduced by the Regency version of the recipe or at least an excerpt from the Regency Source. This is followed by a contemporary version written in a more modern style, with some additional notes and clarifications of terms, and some ingredient substitutions. The format means that even a lackluster cook like myself should be able to prepare most of these things, and a really good cook can handle all of them. This is a niche cookbook – not something you’ll be using in your day-to-day life. But for Austen fans and history fans, it’s amazingly informative on an amazing number of levels for such a thin volume. - Carrie S.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Caroline

    Any fan of Jane Austen's novels would do well to read, or at least sample, this book. Austen's work is the story of domestic life of her time, and this book provides a lot of useful information about an important context of her novels: food, meals, and dining. What is a nuncheon? How do cooks cope without refrigeration? And how, specifically, does one prepare many of the foods familiar to Austen's world? This book addresses these questions, in a well-written and well-researched style. It is phys Any fan of Jane Austen's novels would do well to read, or at least sample, this book. Austen's work is the story of domestic life of her time, and this book provides a lot of useful information about an important context of her novels: food, meals, and dining. What is a nuncheon? How do cooks cope without refrigeration? And how, specifically, does one prepare many of the foods familiar to Austen's world? This book addresses these questions, in a well-written and well-researched style. It is physically attractive, and soundly based on contemporaneous records and recipes ('receipts') of the time, although these were recorded in ways foreign to us.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    A mouse-nibbled copy of this book caught my eye. Jane Austen and cooking? I'm in. However, less is known about Austen in the kitchen than, say, Austen at the piano. There are several scholarly sites devoted to he musical tastes, as well as cds of the music being performed. The culinary historical record not being as good, the author here fills in with contemporaneous recipes and information. INteresting, but not compelling.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Danine

    Beautifully put together, with informative introductory chapters, and the historic recipes next to their modern equivalents. Portions happily scaled down to the modern dinner table. Recipes are not difficult, especially if you cheat with modern kitchen electronics to compensate for lack of scullery maids. A must for anyone getting into Georgian/Regency lifestyles.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kara

    While some of the recipes are bland for this southern gal. There is some really neat history and a few really yummy dishes (I've found adding garlic to the macaroni recipe makes it awesome) It is fun to look at the old course examples. A great addition for any Jane Austen fan, as many of the recipes come from Jane's own household.

  20. 4 out of 5

    April

    The first part of this book is the history of food in Jane Austen's time and also their daily schedule of meals, which is quite different from today. The author has renovated the recipes for todays use, but she changed the ingredients of several of the recipes to make them more modern which I'm not happy with. The flavors wouldn't be the same with those changes.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    While I found reading this book quite interesting and informative, I found it useless as a cookbook. As a vegetarian, there were very few recipes I could appreciate. I didn't like that there were no pictures of the food - I like to know what the meal I'm cooking is supposed to look like, especially when the direction are not so direct.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Perkins

    I need to buy this one, as it will be far more practical to purchase it than photocopy every single point of interest (which is not the entire book, but almost). I doubt I'll make any of the 'receipts,' but the research value is immense. (Actually, the orange wine sounds pretty good....I may have to get a little 'kitchen witchy' this summer....)

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sherri

    The first half of the book described foods, mealtimes, and etiquette during Jane's time and how they evolved into what we may recognize now. The latter half were recipes from her and her family of what the would've enjoyed.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rachel G

    A very interesting look at the dining practices of English society circa 1800ish. I've read Jane Austen's books & seen the movies made from them, but never knew many of the intricacies of the delicacies of the era. I hope to make a couple of the recipes sometime soon!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Review soon @ thefaeryromanticlibrarian.blogspot.com

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sally

    A fun souvenir from England to add to my cookbook collection.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    Never really tried any of the recipes, but they're all very interesting and I always want to try some-but time...

  28. 5 out of 5

    SFBlau

    I enjoyed reading this and look forward to tasting some of the recipes.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Babs

    I enjoyed getting this book. All the recipes are supposed to be some of Jane's favorites or mentioned in her books. I look forward to trying some of them.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

    I really enjoyed both the history of the time period and the recipes.

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