Monday, March 22, 2010

Regency Food

by Ann Lethbridge

Just have to show what I cooked for Sunday's dinner. Comfort food. It was snowing again so pineapple upsidedown cake was the order of the day. Not that it is in any way shape or form associated with the Regency.

Definitely yummy though.

And while we are off topic, I receive my author copies of Wicked Rake, Defiant Mistress today. So it is true the book really exists. The cover is even nicer in the flesh than it is in the picture.

Just loving the colour of her dress.

All right so a bit of shameless promo. It just goes to show there is no such thing as a free lunch.

Now for the Regency food bit.

In the Regency during the Season in London, entertaining at home on a lavish scale was de rigeur.

There were dinner parties, card parties, routs, musical evenings, drums, venetian breakfasts.... and of course balls.

A ball had to be the best event of all. A chance for young men to flirt with the debutantes on the dance floor.

Every ball was expected to provide a supper around midnight.

So what did hostesses of the day serve to their guests.

Here is one menu for your perusal ~ From an 1808 cookbook

  • Ten hot roast Fowls
  • Almond Mould with Cream
  • Cray Fish
  • Ices Jellies (several dishes spread along the table)
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Ham
  • Escaloped Potatoes
  • Apple Puffs
  • Tartlets
  • Scotch Collops
  • Cold Chicken
  • Savoy Cakes
  • Blancmange
  • Beans a la Crème
  • Dressed Lobster
  • Asparag
  • Mince Pies
  • Custards
  • Escaloped Oysters
  • Cold Roast Lamb
  • Prawns
  • Cheesecakes
  • Sallad
  • Beans a la Crème
  • Fricasseed Rabbits
  • Cauliflowers a la Crème

Each of these dishes would be repeated several times until there was sufficient for the number of people attending.

What I found interesting is that many of these dishes would not be out of place on our tables today. I do find it odd the way they mix the savoury foods in with the desserts, but they did seem to eat vegetables and salads too.

A couple of explanations:

Scotch Collops are a traditional Scottish dish created using either thin slices or minced meat of either beef, lamb or venison. This is combined with onion, salt, pepper and suet then then stewed, baked or roasted with optional flavourings according to the meat used. It is traditionally served garnished with thin toast and mashed potato.

Here is a Savoy Cake. The outside is crusted with sugar.

Hope I didn't make you feel too hungry, or maybe you feel as if you have just eaten far too much.

Until next time, Happy Rambles.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Regency Food

by Michele Ann Young

Labeled Food, this article falls under the drinking part of eating.

The Georgian era was a time of gargantuan appetites for the men of the nobility.

These men rode 40 miles hunting a stag, raced phaetons from London to Brighton, ate massive breakfasts and gargantuan dinners. They had a love of life and little more to do than enjoy it.

Needless to say their health suffered as a result. The Prince of Wales in his twenties suffered much from the effects of over-indulgence and often ran a fever, the remedy for which was bleeding.

What did they drink with all this food?

Claret was a very popular drink of the nobility.

And a favorite of the Prince of Wales. Here is his portrait as a young man.

The Prince of Wales brother Frederick could easily consume six bottles of claret at a sitting. Claret is a red wine from Bourdeaux.

In the 18th century drinking claret helped the rich distinguish themselves from those below them. Port a more traditional drink with the gentry, and far cheaper. For example: John Hervey, the first Earl of Bristol, spent four times as much on claret as on port, whereas the tradesmen who gathered in the Barbers Hall in the City of London spent a mere £2 on claret as against £850 on port.

In “Every Man His Own Butler,” published in 1839, Cyrus Redding, a wine merchant and author, wrote “claret for a bishop, port for a rector, currant for a curate and gin for the clerk”

Another of the Prince's brother's was considered a moderate drinker, since he would only drinking a pint of sherry at dinner.

Other drinks served at Carlton House were:

Maraschino -made from marasca cherries.

Introduced to widely to Europe in the 18th century it was a sweet liqueur and a favourite of Napoleon Bonaparte after dinner or supper. George IV sent a naval fleet to collect a hundred Maraschino cases for the Royal court in London and for the governors of Malta and Corfu.

Cedrate: for which I have yet to find a description other than to know it relates to lemon or citrus fruits.

The Prince of Wales joined the Beefsteak Club in April 1784

As the The Times
said "he was known to be remarkably fond of rumpsteak" The club met at Covent Garden Theatre to "grill steakes over the original grate furnished for the purpose by the founder and to drink port, porter, punch and whisky toddy."

The Prince generously shared his own punch recipe with many of his contemporaries, and here it is.

* 1 bottle champagne
* 1 bottle burgundy
* 1 bottle rum
* 10 lemons
* 2 oranges
* 1 1/2 lbs. sugar

Chill the liquor before mixing.

Enjoy. But perhaps wait awhile for going off to ramble the countryside.
Until next time.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Stourhead ~ Continues

by Ann Lethbridge

First some writing news. Back in the summer Ann was invited to submit a story for a Mills and Boon Anthology. It will be out in the UK in August. My story is called The Governess and the Earl and it is already listed on Amazon. No cover yet, but you can be sure I will post it here the moment I see it.

This is the view of the portico ceiling. The attention to detail is truly amazing. While this portico was not added until 1838, replacing the frontage you saw in the drawing at the beginning of this series, it was part of the original design.

One of the things you may not know about Stourhead is the fact that it caught fire in 1902. So while attempts were made to reproduce the original house, the lack of detailed drawings hampered the craftsmen of that time.

As usual one is not permitted to take pictures inside the house, but I did buy the guide book and can tell you that the house contains wonderful pieces of furniture from the eighteenth century.

Some examples are som beautiful console tables with fox supports made in the 1740's. I must put those in a book.

There are beautiful hall-chairs and bronzed torcheres made by Thomas Chippendale the Younger.

Of particular note is the Library. It survived the fire. Built in 1792 it is a magnificent example of a Regency library . Some of its most interesting features are: a lattice work barrel ceiling (Wikipedia provides an example at the link), but the ceiling at Stourhead is far more elegant and the beautiful shelving let into the plasterwork walls are works of art, having curved tops to match the curve in the ceiling at each end of the room.

I do wish I could show you, but I could not find any copyright free pictures.

All of the furniture was supplied in 1804-1805 by Thomas Chippendale the Younger.

The massive writing-desk has legs carved with the heads of philosophers and Egyptians. The armchairs have round seats and yoke-shaped backs and are very much in the French style with Egyptian heads carved into the arms so popular after Napoleon conquered Egypt.

If you can't visit Stourhead and would like to see the interior features, I highly recommend sending for the guidebook just to see a watercolour picture of the library drawn in 1804.

Our last picture is our last view of the house looking back.

And so we say farewell to Stourhead, with much regret.

Until next time, Happy Rambles.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Flora and Fauna of Regency England ~ March

by Michele Ann Young
I am beginning to forget what I have posted on this topic and when I go back through my posts I am quite startled by the amount of information I have gleaned from here and there. What I would really like to do, is to spend a year in England, travelling the highways and byways taking pictures. But then I would never get any stories done, would I? A writer's lot is a hard one. (Joking)

This little fellow is a Wheatear, also known as an English Ortolan according to our naturalist who says.

This bird
again pays its annual visit (leaving in September). They are found in great numbers about East Bourne, in Sussex, eighteen hundred dozen being annually taken in this neighbourhood. They are usually sold at sixpence a dozen
Today, this bird is rarely found in the south of England. I wonder why? Quite sad really.

Since the quote was from 1820, I thought the price interesting.

Of interest to our regency people, the brown trout begins to rise. This is a freshwater fish, found in brooks streams and rivers, and delicious eating, then and today. It is a member of the Salmon family.

I'm sure poachers had a field day.

By this time, England is already greening up in the hedgerows. And of course the grass is nearly always green. And what are the farmers up to?

According to our naturalist:

In March the farmer dresses and rolls his meadows; spreads anthills; plants quicksets, osiers, etc. sows flax seed, artificial grasses, beans and peas, broom and whin seeds and grass seeds among the wheat. About the 23rd he ploughs for and sows oats and hemp and fax.

That's all from me, Until next time, Happy Rambles

Monday, March 1, 2010

Regency Fashion for March

by Ann Lethbridge

Hardly a day goes by without something going on these days. Here is the UK cover for Captured For The Captain's Pleasure.

I love that her gown is pure regency, and yep bare-chested guy is good for me too.

Indeed the gown could easily feature in one of these monthly articles. I wonder what they will do for the North American version. The differences for the book out this February, and coming across the pond in May are marked. It is like getting a large box with a ribbon around it. The anticipation is almost better than the gift.


I wandered back through the blogs to see what we had done already and saw that this time last March, we were about to change our clocks. The first sign of spring.

As usual I find plates with both a gentleman and a lady of particular interest.

This one is from Le Beaumonde 1807

A MORNING WALKING DRESS, for Gentlemen is composed of a dark brown superfine cloth great coat, ends of the collar in the front cut into a heart; dark blue under coat only visible in front; toillinette waistcoat blue striped with a white and yellow ground, fawn coloured pantaloons, and half boots.

The description says it all and the cane is an interesting accessory. You can see where there half boots come on the calf by looking closely.

Our Lady is equally fine.

AN ELEGANT WALKING DRESS, a straw gypsy hat, tied down with a white silk or a rich half lace handkerchief; a muslin gown, ornamented with knotted work crossing the shoulder to correspond with the bottom of the dress. The body is made quite plain to draw round the bosom, and fulled in the back to imitate the frock waist, with a light yellow sarsnet or camel hair scarf, richly drapered at the ends with various colours; the scarf is worn so that the dress may be exposed, tastefully tied with a careless knot in front. Lilac gloves and half boots made of kid, a beautiful white down muff, adds much to the elegance and splendour of this much admired Walking Spring Dress.

We have see the muff many times before. This one is huge and looks exceedingly soft.

Our next picture is of a less cheerful not and comes from right at the end of the regency period.

A mourning gown from La Belle Assemblee for 1820.

This is labeled

Carriage Costume

Round dress of black crape over black satin with five fluted flowers of crape at the border. Spencer of black velvet, with the sleeves and bust ornamented in a most novel and beautiful style. Black velvet bonnet, with superb plume of cypress feathers. English antique triple ruff of white crape, black chamois slippers, and black chamois gloves.

It of course shows the fashion at this time for the wider heavier hemline. But also of interest is the use of chamois. We more often see kid for shoes and gloves. I assume by English antique, they are talking Tudor for the ruff. I agree that the ornamention is quite novel.

The rest of the article goes on to talk about mourning fashions. There has been much mourning among royalty during this period, and King George died January 29, 1820, throwing the nobility back into mourning for their King.

As the splendor of an unclouded sky will sometimes cheer the dark reign of Winter so Taste and Elegance will dart their bright beams even though the sable mantle of mourning, and the cloud of universal and unfeigned regret. We fancied but little could be said on the subject of fashion at a time like this; for in her diversified attire it is generally proved that
“Motley’s the only wear.”
As we walked through the tasteful shew-room of Mrs. Bell, we found our admiration continually arrested as we stopped before the retired cornette and bonnet, the sable plumed head-dress of majestic woe, the deep and unstudied weeds for those who, at the first awful period of Court mourning, mark by their costume their sorrowing ideas that Britannia sits like a widow, while the lighter white crape turban peeps through the gloom and indicates the white and halcyon days she hopes to witness in the reign of his present most gracious Majesty.
The most appropriate out-door costume for the first weeks of mourning, is a pelisse of black rosadimoi; a silk which is infinitely deeper than bombazin, and is worn only by widows in the very first stage of their weeds; it is also often appropriated to the fabrication of clergymen’s Court robes; the material, however, of the pelisse is entirely new; and forms a truly classical and unique costume for the present sad occasion. The rich rosadimoi is figured; it is thereby not only rendered lighter in appearance, but also it marks a distinction between the very deep mourning for the nearest and dearest of all individual connections, and that which should be adopted for the sire of the people. The pelisse is trimmed with crape in rich quillings; and with it should be worn a bonnet of puckered crape, ornamented with a full cluster of the blossoms of the mournful nightshade, without foliage and formed of black crape.
Black satin hats, with battlement edges, are much worn in carriages; they are ornamented with full plumes of feathers; the most elegant hat we have seen, but we must remark that it will only suit a lovely face, is the chapeau a la-Comtesse; it is somewhat in the Mary Stuart style, and is crowned by a superb plume of feathers; the hat itself is of black velvet. A large dishabille bonnet of the same material is well adopted to the promenade; it has a small curtain of black lace at the edge and is ornamented with two small dropping cypress feathers.
Little has been yet prepared for full dress, but the elegancies of half dress, the most becoming costume to almost every female, are so various at the Magazin de Modes we have above cited, that it is really more than our limits will allow us to record at present. We cannot, however, leave undescribed a most elegant and appropriate mourning dress of fine bombazine, handsomely ornamented round the border en carresux; each square finished with double crape a-la-veuvage, and the doublings headed by crape beadings: the dress is made high and is finished round the waist by an Arcadian jacket frill of crape, terminated by narrow crape puffings: the mancherons at the top of the long sleeves are trimmed to correspond with the frill.
Cornettes for the breakfast table are made of fine India muslin; the border, which consists of full quilling, has a very broad hem on each side; and the only ornament is a small bow of white love on the left side. For elderly ladies the cornette-a-la matrons is much admired, in the present close state of mourning; it is entirely of white crape, and the broad border with large plaits gives it an air of retired sorrow; these cornettes are well adapted for the very early period of widowhood; they are truly becoming and quite as mournful as the widow’s cap of the old school, and which diminishes the charms even of a very pretty face.
Amongst the head-dresses for evening parties, we beg leave first to introduce par excellance, the regal coronet turban of black velvet, surmounted by a superb chivalry plume of numerous small black feathers; this is one of the most tasteful head-dresses we have seen for some time. The private concert turban is also well adapted to musical parties, being light and without plumage; it is of black satin and crape, ornamented with real jet; a dress hat of crape and black satin ornamented with drooping cypress feathers, is much in estimation for dinner parties.
White crape and white love are equally expressive of mourning as black; the young, and the beauty whose complexion is dark, and which is by no means rendered fairer by the approximation of black next the face, have been already seen in turbans made entirely of white crape, slightly trimmed with white bugles; while those of equivocal complexions, to whom also black is not a favourable head-dress, do well to wear a white crape turban, entwined with black beads, and crowned with black flowers or feathers.
Black is not a colour wherein to tread the mazes of sportive dance; we hope, therefore, when our balls begin, that white or grey crape will be adopted for dresses, with the trimmings only of black; and as young ladies now wear nothing more than a bandeau of jet and bugles to adorn their beautiful tresses, such mourning, we think, will be sufficient; and not seeming to

“Bear about the mockery of woe
To midnight dances.”

On that note, I will bid you happy rambles.